In response to the remark made by Minster of Justice Chun Jung-bae that he will give directions on specific cases, Prosecutor General Kim Jong-bin said on August 19, The prosecutor general doesnt necessarily have to follow all directions, especially unreasonable ones.
Their remarks aroused attention, especially because they were made as the prosecutors are currently engaged in politically sensitive cases such as the alleged wiretapping of the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
Therefore, there is a possibility that the minister of justice and the prosecutor general find themselves at odds over how these cases should be investigated.
The prosecutor general told reporters on his way to work on the same day, The minister of justice is supposed to give specific orders only through the prosecutor general.
He continued, The prosecutor general doesnt have to follow unreasonable directions, only because they come from the minister of justice, adding eloquently, It is a responsibility of the prosecutor general to make sure that the investigation is not influenced by the outside.
Minister Chun said at a meeting with senior officials of the ministry on August 18, I will execute my rights to give directions on specific cases to lead and supervise the investigation, if those directions are needed to make sure that the prosecutors investigate a case in a reasonable and decisive manner.
He also said, The decision of the prosecutors, who investigated the Daesang group case initially, to halt the indictment procedure of chairman Lim to look for witnesses goes directly against what the prosecutors are for, and that is fighting injustice.
The ministry of justice responded quickly as the ministers remarks sent waves within the prosecution.
Han Myung-gwan, PR officer of the ministry, explained on August 19, He meant that he intended to give specific orders in compliance with the law, in the event that the prosecutors dont follow due procedures and make wrong decisions just as they did in the Daesang case. He didnt intend to become out of line and involve himself in all cases.
Article eight of the prosecutor general law stipulates that the minister of justice shall direct or supervise only the prosecutor general on specific cases.