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Report OKs New Prosecution Appointments

Posted February. 02, 2006 06:04,   


Many prosecution insiders and outsiders assess that the new appointment of senior prosecution officials above the level of chief prosecutors implemented on February 1 was acceptable and stable overall.

The appointments were concluded based mainly on existing rankings and internal evaluation data, and in most cases, promotion to chief prosecutor was concluded as expected.

Minister Chun Jung-bae Yields Significantly in the End—

There was quite a bit of arguing back and forth regarding the post of chief public prosecutor for Seoul District. At one point, Chief Public Prosecutor of Incheon Chung Dong-ki, who passed the 18th National Bar Exam (NBE) and is close to Minister Chun, was mentioned as a likely candidate. But in the end, the chief of the Ministry of Justice Prosecution Bureau Lim Chae-jin, who passed the 19th NBE, became the new head of the Seoul District prosecutor’s office.

Cheongju District Chief Prosecutor Moon Seong-woo’s appointment to head the prosecution bureau, and Policy Management and Public Relations Office Director Lee Kwui-nam’s appointment to chief of the Public Security Bureau at the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office are both considered fair appointments. However, with Central Investigation Department Chief Park Young-soo remaining in his post, there is controversy that out of the four key prosecution posts, three have been taken by Honam region personnel, including prosecutors Moon and Lee.

Prosecutors from the 23rd NBE, the exam that opened the era of 300 lawyers per year, were promoted just as the prosecution’s internal evaluations were assessed. Incheon District First Deputy Chief Prosecutor Han Sang-dae, who was promoted to chief prosecutor, and six others from his NBE class are elite prosecutors that have kept ahead of the pack. Of them, some were rumored to be excluded from promotion because Minister Chun wanted to make them liable for inconsistent investigations. But eventually, all the issues were cleared and they joined the others in being promoted. A prosecution official commented, “At the last minute, Minister Chun yielded significantly so the appointments went ahead as the prosecution insiders wanted it.”

Public Security Continues to Decline—

However, the decline of public security prosecutors, a trend of the past few years, continued this year as well.

South Seoul District Chief Prosecutor Koh Young-joo (18th NBE), who had been in the public security department, was excluded for the post of supreme chief prosecutor and recently resigned, while 23rd NBE Hwang Kyo-ahn, the second deputy chief prosecutor of the Seoul District prosecutor’s office, was also excluded from the promotion list.

It is reported that Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling party played a significant role in omitting Deputy Chief Prosecutor Hwang from the promotion list. On the surface, the reason for his omission is that while working as Seoul District Public Security Department 2 chief during 2002-2003, he did not handle the case regarding the National Intelligence Service’s alleged wiretapping well. However, the common view from both inside and outside of the prosecution is that the administration’s negative view on the prosecution’s public security performance also played a role.

Cheong Wa Dae Exerts Verification Powers—

It has also been confirmed on February 1 that two candidates were excluded from promotion by the first ever Cheong Wa Dae verification process.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Kim Man-soo stated, “Two candidates for chief prosecutor were excluded because one had problems in the process of earning his property, while the other had a record of drunk driving.”

It is also reported that in the process of verification, Cheong Wa Dae demanded two candidates to submit explanatory information.

Cheong Wa Dae’s verification process was focused on legal issues such as how wealth was earned, false address registration, and drunk driving citations. Candidates also submitted a consent form allowing the disclosure of information such as financial transactions, military records, and immigration records.

Tae-Hoon Lee Yeon-Wook Jung jefflee@donga.com jyw11@donga.com