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[Opinion] Kim Jong-bin vs. Huh Joon-young

Posted May. 05, 2005 23:43,   


Prosecutor General Kim Jong-bin denounced the police the day before yesterday, saying that “unlike the police, the prosecution has long kept its promises,” and that it had “been a lot more patient than its counterpart.” The “promise” refers to a gentleman’s agreement that the two made, stipulating that they both refrain from any “outside-the-scene disputes” as the advisory committee on adjusting prosecution and police powers is being held. However, Commissioner General Huh Joon-young of the National Police Agency refuted that it was the prosecution who “attacked first by raising the human rights issue against the police.”

Considering that the prosecution-police conflict over investigation rights has lingered on for more than 60 years, it is meaningless to bring up who attacked whom first. It might be true that the police are being more aggressive. This may be because they are in a position to win a share of investigation rights.

When former Prosecutor General Song Gwang-soo said in his outgoing statement that “the prosecution is like salt cracking down on injustice and corruption in society,” Commissioner General Huh replied, “One kind of salt is not enough. There should be thick salt, fine salt and refined salt.” This implies that he believes the police should also be an investigation entity.

In addition, it was the commissioner general who mocked the prosecution’s “Human Rights Superiority” arguments by saying that “the police were badmouthed while guarding the Han River bridges,” referring to cases where some suspects or witnesses under the prosecution’s investigations committed suicide by drowning. He even coined an expression that “the prosecution gets the rights, the police takes responsibility.” At the same time, he initiated a new slogan: “The police gets the rights, the police takes responsibility.”

Responses from members of the two organizations were directly opposed to each other. Lay prosecutors, who convened an urgency meeting after being infuriated at the revision plan of the code of criminal procedure led by the Presidential Committee on Judicial Reform, had many complaints about Prosecutor General Kim. They pointed out that he tries to read the minds of the political circle too much. Meanwhile, most members of the police said that they “felt much better” with Huh’s remarks.

On “Polnetian,” a portal site specialized for the police, a posting parodied Commissioner General Huh as a general in armor commanding the “war over investigation rights.”

The core issues of investigation rights adjustment are whether the police and the prosecution should be considered equal investigation entities and to what extent the number of cases where the police takes orders from the prosecution should be reduced. These issues are something that should not be decided merely by the quarrels between Kim Jong-bin and Huh Joon-young.

Shim kyu-sun, Editorial writer, ksshim@donga.com