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Judicial Authority Now at Risk

Posted November. 14, 2004 23:18,   


The authority of the judiciary is falling in Korean society.

A series of acts and remarks by politicians that ignore legal authority is spreading to the general masses and is leading to disobedience of the court’s ruling. Experts say that this trend is seriously alarming in that it could undermine the internal system of the nation.

On November 12, the Seoul High Court sustained its original decision and found a former civil servant guilty of committing bribery. As soon as the decision was delivered, the accused suddenly stood up and shouted, “Why am I guilty?” Three or four family members of the accused yelled at where the judge was sitting from the public gallery.

That very day, Lee Mok-hee, a legislator from the ruling Uri Party, called the Constitutional Court’s decision on the relocation of the capital city a legal coup d’etat that trampled on the rights and freedom of citizens and the National Assembly. Some Uri Party members and pro-Uri figures continue to calumniate the Constitutional Court after the court ruled that the moving of the capital city was unconstitutional.

Now, disturbances in the courtroom and criticizing the judicial authority are no longer hard to find.

An official at the Seoul High Court said that policemen were ordered 15 times to settle down problems from the early October till November 12. A move of policemen is ordered when a situation becomes uncontrollable by the court guards. The official said that when combining simple protests and affronts to court, there are one or two disturbances in the courtroom happening every day.

Disturbances in the court that could occasionally be found only in cases involving gangsters and public security offenders are now prevalent in political cases as well as normal criminal, civil, and family dispute cases.

A senior judge at the Seoul High Court said that politicians’ acts of defying the court’s ruling and profaning the legal authority is in fact standing against the will of the citizens. Moon Jae-wan, a law professor at Dankook University, said that by blaming the rulings of the legal court according to their own political interest, the politicians are unconsciously brainwashing people that the court is unreliable.