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Presidential Commission Declares to Fight against Impeachment

Presidential Commission Declares to Fight against Impeachment

Posted March. 19, 2004 23:23,   


Forty-three commissioners and employees of the Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths on Friday issued a statement condemning the passage of the impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun by the National Assembly.

The commission was established on October 17, 2000 jointly by the government and civil groups to investigate suspicious deaths that occurred under past authoritarian governments.

The statement is likely to generate a great stir because all of the 42 involved, excluding two non-standing commissioners, are public officers.

In the statement, titled "Denunciation on Usurping the Sovereignty of the People," the statement says, “The 193 corrupt and conservative lawmakers who passed the impeachment bill have revealed their true colors.” "The impeachment, which is disguised as a legitimate action, is a coup that directly challenges democracy, as well as to the sovereignty of the people," the statement declared.

"The Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths is an organization that symbolizes democratic movements and efforts to dig up wrong doings occurred under authoritarian regimes and can not tolerate anti-democratic conservative forces that have enjoyed their vested rights. Thus, we will fight against the outraged impeachment, which is a serious challenge to democracy, to correct their shameful attempt to stain our history."

Thirty-four professional commissioners participated in the declaration on Friday, including Kim Hee-su, a standing commissioner of the Presidential Truth Commission, Lee Seok-yeong, a professor of the Chonbuk University, Hwang Sang-ik, a professor of the Seoul University, Lee Gi-wook, a lawyer, Jeon Hae-cheol, a lawyer, and Yu han-beom, the commission`s publicity manager.

However, the staff of the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, the police, and prosecution did not participate in the declaration.

"The statement neither reflects the official position of the Presidential Truth Commission, and the commission never even held an official meeting to discuss this matter. We are ready to accept punishment and disadvantages this effort may bring us due to our social status,`` Yoon said.

The statement was verbally reported to Han Sang-beom, the chairman of the commission, reportedly 10 minutes prior to the announcement by standing Commissioner Kim.

"In a democratic country, anyone is allowed to express their opinions, but Friday`s statement has no connection whatsoever to the commission`s official stance on the impeachment," Han said.

Yang-Hwan Jung ray@donga.com