Go to contents

Lawmakers Question Prosecutor General Candidate

Posted November. 19, 2005 08:21,   


When Dong-A Ilbo questioned all 15 representatives (eight lawmakers from the ruling Uri Party, five from the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP), and one from the Democratic Labor Party (DLP)) belonging to the Legislative and Judiciary Committee of the National Assembly who just concluded a confirmation hearing for prosecutor general-designate Jeong Sang-myeong, many agreed to the following opinion on the confirmation regardless of their party affiliations.

“Jeong has no significant shortcoming to become the top prosecutor. We, however, are disappointed with his attitude in answering questions because he lacked conviction,”

The lawmakers judged that Jeong’s wife’s questionable past activities such as the frequent transferring of her resident registration and her violation of the Agricultural Land Act are not critical reasons for disqualification for the post. However, regarding Jeong’s answering attitude that failed to hold firm beliefs at the confirmation hearing, they expressed their views, saying, “It leaves something to be desired,” “We are disappointed with him,” and “We are concerned about him.”

Ruling Uri Party lawmaker Jung Sung-ho expressed hints of his dissatisfaction, saying, “Although I do not oppose appointment of Jeong to the post because he has no significant flaws…”

“We need to fine-tune lawmakers’ opinions,” adding, “I don’t want to express my own view,” said Rep. Woo Yoon-keun.

“I was quite disappointed with his answering manner that lacked an air of finality, and he had no firm answers to all questions,” said lawmaker Sun Byong-ryul.

“Even if Jeong has some flaws such as the violation of the Resident Registration Act and Agricultural Land Act, I don’t think that they are significant shortcomings,” said representative Yang Seung-jo. “I just cannot be quite satisfied with him.”

On the contrary, GNP lawmakers appeared to understand Jeong’s attitude.

Choi Yeon-hee said positively, “Jeong’s remark in which he pledged to defend the prosecution’s independence and neutrality deserves to be trusted.” Lawmaker Joo Ho-young said, “Jeong is outgoing at private meetings, but is bashful at official meetings.” “I think Jeong had difficulty in defending a single side in an effort to put an end to ruptures between the prosecution and government,” said lawmaker Kim Myeong-ju.

“Jeong appears to have already seen how the wind blows,” said Rep. Kim Jae-gyeong. “I am concerned about the possibility that Jeong might fathom Cheong Wa Dae’s inner thoughts quite well without considering the prosecution’s neutrality and independence.”

DLP lawmaker Roh Hoe-chan said, “If Jeong’s appointment is put to a vote, I might vote against him.”

During the confirmation hearing, lawmakers asked Jeong about his will to defend the prosecution power’s independence and political neutrality after summoning five references for questioning. In response, Jeong said, “I will do my utmost to protect the prosecution power’s independence in a strict and neutral manner.”

Meanwhile, the Legislative and Judiciary Committee is scheduled to submit its review report containing its opinion to the National Assembly next Monday. Unlike Supreme Court justices, a new prosecutor general appointment is not required to be put to a vote at a National Assembly plenary session; thus, opinions of those lawmakers who attended a confirmation hearing have no power to decide on whether to appoint someone to a top prosecutor post.

Dong-Yong Min mindy@donga.com