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“Public Prosecutors’ Uprising” Expected

Posted April. 29, 2005 13:52,   


The Public Prosecutor’s Office began to tackle in earnest the Presidential Committee on Judicial Reform (PCJR) (Joint chairman: Lee Hae-chan, Prime Minister, and Han Seung-heon, lawyer), which is pushing forward with a revision of the Criminal Procedure Code that includes the denial of the evidential validity of depositions drafted by public prosecutors.

However, the PCJR stated that it would go ahead with its intended agenda, including the passage of a draft of the reform bill on the Criminal Procedure Code, at a conference of the working-level committee (chairman: Cho Young-taek, chairman of the Office for Government Policy Coordination) to be held on May 9.

Kim Jong-bin, Prosecutor General of the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office, said on April 28, “If the PCJR’s reform bill goes into effect, the public prosecutor’s investigative power will no longer obtain in cases of social corruption, violent crimes, and secret crimes,” adding, “The result will be a significant weakening of the maintenance of social order for the good of a handful of criminals.”

Following a meeting with head prosecutors in the metropolitan area on April 27, the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office will hold a conference on May 2 to be attended by the chiefs of Higher Prosecutor’s Offices and District Prosecutor’s Offices other than those of the metropolitan area in order to discuss countermeasures.

Since prosecutors insist on holding an ordinary prosecutors’ meeting for each Public Prosecutor’s Office, the situation is likely to escalate to a “public prosecutors’ uprising.”

In the meantime, on the same day, the PCJR stated that, after sending a public notice to its working-level commissioners, it would pass the revision, including a reform bill of the Criminal Procedure Code, the introduction of a law school, the adoption of a judicial system that accommodates the participation of the public, and an all-out introduction of the financial application system, as planned at a meeting to be held on May 9.

If this bill is approved, the bill will be sent on May 16 to the PCJR, which consists of minister-level officials, and then, if it is passed there, the bill (including the revision) will undergo due procedures including transference to the Ministry of Justice and passage by the National Assembly.

The PCJR is scheduled to hold a joint discussion meeting attended by approximately 30 related figures and experts including working-level commissioners, court officials, public prosecutors, lawyers, and academics, to discuss the revised draft bill of the Criminal Procedure Code on April 30.

There has been criticism from some judicial officers and jurists that the public prosecutors are responding quite sensitively over the issue.

A senior judicial officer said, “The excessive power vested in the public prosecutors is in need of proper diffusion and distribution.”