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Justice Minister Order Is Disgrace to Prosecution

Posted October. 15, 2005 07:52,   


Prosecutor General Kim Jong-bin accepted an order from Justice Minister Chun Jung-bae to investigate Kang Jeong-gu, a sociology professor at Dongguk University, without arresting him for the first time in Constitutional history.

However, Prosecutor General Kim expressed regret over the justice minister’s exercise of his right to override the prosecution.

Without making his course of action clear, Prosecutor General Kim was reported to express his difficulties, so it remains uncertain whether he will step down.

As prosecutors strongly resented the precedence set by Prosecutor General Kim, calling it a “shame,” the prosecution is likely to have further confusion and conflicts within the organization.

Prosecutor General Kim expressed his position at about 5:10 p.m. on October 14 through Kang Chan-woo, a public information official at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, “I will accept the directive issued by Justice Minister.”

Yet, Kim also said, “I am really sorry about the minister’s directive which determined whether to detain the accused in this specific case, because it is highly likely to undermine the prosecution’s political independence.”

Kim also said, “If I do not comply with the directive because the exercise of the directive itself is illegitimate, this would mean that the prosecutor general has violated the law,” suggesting that the justice minister’s order was injustice.

He was also quoted as saying, “The public will decide whether the minister’s move was legitimate or not.”

Meanwhile, the former prosecutors’ association headed by Jeong Gu-yeong, ex-prosecutor general, issued a statement that criticized the directive, saying, “Pertaining to the custody of Professor Kang, the justice minister should have respected the decision made by the prosecution, which is the semi-judiciary, and allowed the court to determine whether to detain the accused based on conscience by taking into consideration the constitution, laws and the public opinion.”

Jin-Kyun Kil jin0619@donga.com leon@donga.com