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Prosecutors from Special Investigation Teams Are Losing Their Fame

Prosecutors from Special Investigation Teams Are Losing Their Fame

Posted June. 23, 2005 06:04,   


The Central Investigation Department of the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office (CIDSPPO), and its investigation into politicians involved in bribery and illegal political funds scandals, which were “representative cases” investigated by “the representatives of special investigation teams of the prosecution,” the CIDSPPO.

However, with these cases being found not guilty one after another, the prosecution’s fame has been tarnished. Prosecutors from the special investigation team are making mirthless expressions, saying, “Given our motto of ‘confrontations with big figures,’ we can not raise our faces.”

Rep. Rhee In-je from the United Liberal Democratic Party (ULDP) was also acquitted in an appeals court on June 21 after former Minister of Culture and Tourism Park Ji-won, Mayor of Gwangju Park Gwang-tae, and former lawmaker Park Ju-seon were found innocent.

Three Jinxes-

While experiencing that these cases have been acquitted, prosecutors from the special investigation team said the following three jinxes have come out: That the cases that were convicted in the lower court might be possibly adjudged guilty in the higher court; that delayed-sentence dates might possibly lead to being found innocent; and that on-the-spot inspections are unfavorable to the prosecution.

Even if former minister Park Ji-won and former Rep. Park Ju-seon were convicted in the first and second rulings, the Supreme Court repealed these cases to the effect that they were acquitted. As for the Mayor Park Gwang-tae and Rep. Rhee In-je, their first rulings (being found guilty) were reversed in their second rulings.

The date for Rep. Rhee’s appeal was planned on January 28, but the bench decided to postpone the date right before sentencing him, saying, “We need more examination.”

A prosecutor in chare of Rep. Rhee’s case said, “When I was told that the sentence date was delayed, I thought that this case would be unfavorable to us.” If a trial is put off, some situations can occur, including that a witness who has a key to a case changes some of his or her statements, which might lead to a judgment that “there is not enough consistency or authenticity in witness’ statements.”

As for Rep. Rhee’s case, Kim Yun-su, who was known to have delivered money, changed some of his statements, including a parking place where he delivered money, at the on-site verification.

The Prosecution Should Change Its Attitude-

Prosecutors complain that judges’ rulings are quite strict. A prosecutor from the Special Investigation Team of the Seoul Central District Public Prosecutor’s Office said, “There are few people who can remember circumstances surrounding a case that occurred a long time ago exactly and testify in the same words in regards to the case.” He added, “Taking the limit of one’s memory as grounds in a bid to rule whether a case is being found guilty or not guilty shows blind spots in the trial-focused system.”

A senior prosecutor of the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office said, “Now there is no naïve one who manages and transfers one’s illegal funds at one’s bank account,” adding, “The recent rulings can be interpreted as a message that orders the prosecution not to investigate into bribery or political funding scandals.”

However, there are not a few opinions within the prosecution that it should change its work framework, which suggests that it should throw its energy into “the maintenance of prosecution,” while freeing itself of the mindset that “only investigation can resolve all cases.”