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[Editorial] Intended to Control the Prosecution Through Personnel Management

[Editorial] Intended to Control the Prosecution Through Personnel Management

Posted March. 10, 2003 22:49,   


The recent two years will be recorded as the most disgraceful time for the history of the Korean prosecution, given the fact that the terms of office for the three short-lived prosecutor generals during the recent two years were 8 months, 10 months, and 4 months, respectively. However, it is difficult to say that there were outside influences to force out those three prosecutor generals from the prosecution. There are some self-invited factors found in that the prosecution has been criticized for having served the interests of the ruling regimes, engaged in fierce infightings, and enjoying privileges.

It seems the public express sympathy with the government’s drive to reform the prosecution. As the reform drive is gaining momentum by drawing the public support, it seems that the government is now pushing hard to carry out a sweeping reform of the prosecution. In addition, prosecutor general Kim Kak-jung seemed to be forced out by the whirlwind of reform facing the prosecution.

There has been a controversy over whether the former prosecutor general is a qualified figure to rebuild the public trust in the prosecution from the beginning of his inauguration. He faced endless challenges from inside and outside the prosecution. However, he tried to hold on to the position by making his case for the constitutional right to remain at the office because he was only half way through his tenure, appealing for the president’s ‘favor’ toward him. It is deplorable that he missed several chances of retiring from the office without being hurt. His last chance came 2 weeks ago when the president was inaugurated.

It is also regrettable that president Roh’s promise to respect remaining term of office for government officials became a broken one, apart from the former prosecutor general’s qualification. It is more regrettable in that the president’s remark that he does not trust the leadership in the prosecution directly forced the prosecutor general to step down. The president’s remark during the televised debate with junior prosecutors amounts to pushing him out of the prosecution. Chung Wa Dae’s move to accept the resignation offer right after the former prosecutor general expressed his willingness to step down seems to verify the case.

In this context, the prosecutor general’s criticism against the government for trying to control the prosecution through its personnel management right does not seem to be groundless. It might be undesirable for the government to reform the powerful agency to secure its political independence and neutrality by using ways of controlling the prosecution. As shown in the past governments, controlling the prosecution amounts to using the prosecution as means to hold on to power. That is why the government should be checked whether it is using the prosecution to protect its own interests.