Top pros­e­cu­tor abol­ishes spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion di­vi­sions

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Kim Hyun-bin hyun­[email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

Pros­e­cu­tor-Gen­eral Yoon Seok-youl an­nounced plans Tues­day to abol­ish spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion units in all pros­e­cu­tion of­fices na­tion­wide, ex­clud­ing those at three key of­fices, as part of re­form mea­sures.

The move comes a day af­ter Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in sent a di­rect or­der to him to ini­ti­ate ma­jor pros­e­cu­to­rial re­forms to in­crease pub­lic trust in the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Moon’s or­der fol­lowed a street rally Satur­day or­ga­nized to crit­i­cize the pros­e­cu­tion for “un­fair in­ves­ti­ga­tion prac­tices” which is al­legedly shown in its on­go­ing probe into al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion against Jus­tice Min­is­ter Cho Kuk and his fam­ily. Ac­cord­ing to the Supreme Pros­e­cu­tors’ Of­fice, Yoon or­dered the im­me­di­ate abol­ish­ment of the units ex­cept for three in­clud­ing one at the Seoul Cen­tral Dis­trict Pros­e­cu­tors’ Of­fice.

The spe­cial units were formed to in­ves­ti­gate high-pro­file cases such as politi­cians’ in­flu­ence-ped­dling, cor­rupt ties be­tween pol­i­tics and busi­ness, and large-scale fi­nan­cial scams.

The unit at the Seoul Cen­tral Dis­trict Pros­e­cu­tors’ Of­fice is cur­rently han­dling the case of Cho’s fam­ily.

In ad­di­tion, all pros­e­cu­tors who have been dis­patched to other govern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions will re­turn to their pre­vi­ous of­fices and take charge of crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions and case tri­als. The dis­patch of pros­e­cu­tors to govern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions has been heav­ily crit­i­cized by the pub­lic and seen as a way to ex­pand pros­e­cu­to­rial in­flu­ence and power.

Yoon also said the pros­e­cu­tion will re­view its prac­tice of in­ves­ti­ga­tion and make changes where nec­es­sary, such as the pub­lic sum­mon­ing of sus­pects, leaks of in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­for­ma­tion and ques­tion­ing at night, to bet­ter pro­tect sus­pects’ hu­man rights and pri­vacy. Be­fore do­ing this, how­ever, it will seek the opin­ions of hu­man rights ac­tivists.

Pres­i­dent Moon pledged to re­form the pros­e­cu­tion to re­duce its power dur­ing his elec­tion cam­paign.

While Cho was tapped as the jus­tice min­is­ter to carry out the re­form, the pros­e­cu­tion launched a mas­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing him and his fam­ily. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been seen by Cheong Wa Dae as a show of re­sis­tance to re­form.

Moon also or­dered Yoon to map out in­ter­nal re­form mea­sures as soon as pos­si­ble, send­ing a strong warn­ing to him. The pres­i­dent stressed that the state pros­e­cu­tors should ac­tively join the re­form drive vol­un­tar­ily, urg­ing them to present de­tailed mea­sures through in­ter­nal dis­cus­sions.

Yon­hap

Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in in­spects an honor guard from the pres­i­den­tial limou­sine, at an Air Force base in Daegu, Tues­day, while par­tic­i­pat­ing in a cer­e­mony cel­e­brat­ing the 71st Armed Forces Day. In the back­ground is an F-35A stealth jet which South Korea show­cased for the first time.

Yoon Seok-youl

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