Go to contents

Plan for Citizens’ Participation in Prosecution Decisions Moves Forward

Plan for Citizens’ Participation in Prosecution Decisions Moves Forward

Posted July. 04, 2004 22:12,   


A plan is moving forward to have citizens participate directly in deciding whether or not public prosecutors prosecute cases.

The Policy Committee in the Ministry of Justice (PCMJ), an advisory body headed by Seoul National University law professor Ahn Kyoung-hwan, announced yesterday it will discuss “the way people participate in prosecution tasks” on July 15 in the justice buildings in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi province.

The Ministry of Justice announced that the core subject of discussion on that day is “the way to strengthen democratic justice through fair decisions between prosecution and non-prosecution.”

If this method is adopted, the Korean judicial system’s main axis will be changed by introducing citizen’s participation to the prosecution’s major task.

The PCMJ is going to reexamine the plan of introducing systems both of the American grand jury, in which a grand jury consisting of citizens decides whether criminal cases move to prosecution, and of the Japanese “prosecutor judging committee,” consisting of citizens when an appellant or a victim cannot understand the non-prosecution management of public prosecutors.

The PCMJ is also going to discuss an expansion of the Justice Ministry to create an arbitration request system or an appeal-judging committee system. Those subjects were handed to the PCMJ by the policy-making board headed by Hwang Hee-cheol and which reports directly to the Justice Minister. The ministry said it will carry out those changes after enacting related laws when the PCMJ adopts appropriate methods.

Prosecution is the most important part of a prosecutor’s task, asking the court for a judgment on penal cases. Korea uses the system of “prosecution monopolism,” in which only public prosecutors have the right of prosecution.

Committee Chairman Ahn said, “Such a change in the Justice Ministry will serve to restrain prosecution monopolism through citizen’s participation.”

Soo-Hyung Lee sooh@donga.com