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Chief Prosecutor Curbs Own Authority to Reject Reform Drive

Write: 2019-05-16 15:14:29Update: 2019-05-16 15:47:00

Chief Prosecutor Curbs Own Authority to Reject Reform Drive

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: Prosecutor-General Moon Moo-il has reiterated his criticism against an expedited legislative attempt aimed at reforming the investigative power of the prosecution and police. While arguing that the proposed reform goes against democratic principles, Moon also introduced the prosecution's own measures to overhaul his elite law enforcement agency, which has been blamed for failing to be impartial. 
Kim Bum-soo has more.  

Report: The chief prosecutor has renewed his opposition to the ruling party-led legislative drive aimed at reducing the power of the prosecution. 

[Sound bite: Prosecutor-General Moon Moo-il (Korean)]
"The designated fast-track bills do not meet the democratic principles of the criminal justice system and I would like to appeal to you that this could cause loopholes in the protection of basic rights."  

At a news conference on Thursday, Prosecutor-General Moon Moo-il presented a detailed argument against the criminal code revision, which would strip the prosecution of its command over police investigations.

[Sound bite: Prosecutor-General Moon Moo-il (Korean)]
"Investigations are tools to uncover the truth, but also the only legitimate means allowed to infringe on the basic rights of the people. To improve the criminal justice system, top priority should be placed on safeguarding democratic principles. Thus, unchecked discretion must not be expanded at any investigative authority."

According to Moon, simply relocating "unchecked discretion" from the prosecution to police is not a solution. Instead, he proposed to reduce the sheer volume of prosecutorial investigations. He also hinted that the prosecution will give up its authority over specialized areas such as food and drug-related cases. 

[Sound bite: Prosecutor-General Moon Moo-il (Korean)] 
"The prosecution itself is very much responsible for the current discussions. There have been concerns regarding our political neutrality and it is heart-aching to realize that we failed to properly help the citizens who cried foul against injustices." 

Prosecutors currently have the right to indict suspects and seek arrest warrants while closing investigations that are deemed unnecessary. The revision would allow the police to open and close cases on their own.

Reforming the nation's prosecution was one of the key campaign pledges of President Moon Jae-in, who recognized public concerns regarding the elite law enforcement authority's impartiality. 
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.

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