Government seeks to dilute investigative authority of prosecutors

Published on 21 Jun 2018, 8:07
"검찰 수사지휘권 폐지, 경찰과 상호협력 관계로"

The South Korean government today proposed making changes to how investigative powers are allocated between prosecutors and the police.
It's part of the government's goal of reforming a prosecution long seen as corrupt... and as taking advantage of its authority for its own interests.
Kim Min-ji has this report.
The South Korean government is looking to achieve a balance between the prosecution and police -- by diluting the concentration of investigative powers in the prosecution.
Its proposed measures unveiled Thursday are aimed at having the prosecution and prosecution work hand-in-hand, focusing on the expertise of their respective bodies.

The biggest change is that the police will be given more autonomy and more responsibility during the initial investigation.
They will have the right to investigate,... as well as the authority to close a case.
This also means that the police will be able to determine whether or not to pursue an indictment.
Under the current system,... the police can open a case,... but cannot close it without approval from the prosecution.... while investigations by the police are required to be overseen by a prosecutor.

Meanwhile, prosecutors will be able to retain their authority to indict... and will be required to play a more supplementary role in overseeing probes.
But they will be allowed to request re-investigation into cases that they deem necessary,... or in any circumstances where the police are found to have misused their increased power.

Should a case involve a prosecutor or officials from the prosecution,... the prosecution will be required to request an arrest warrant, and the same goes for the police -- to ensure the two organs keep each other in check.

"The proposal will see the prosecution and police break away from the vertical system... so they can cooperate and each take responsibility for people's safety and protecting human rights. This will enable each body to keep either in check and step up the efficiency of investigations."

The proposal is part of the Moon Jae-in administration's goal to reform the so-called organs of power,... namely, the prosecutor's office, the police and the country's intelligence agency.
Calls to overhaul the prosecution have been mounting... as the country has gone through a long period of irregularities that have infuriated the public.
Prosecutors have been known to take advantage of their excessive power in high-profile cases of powerful people, such as politicians and business tycoons... for their own personal or financial benefit.

The government has noted that the proposal will not be fully satisfactory to the prosecution or the police,... saying they must put in the effort to work around the changes so that they don't spark internal feuds within their organizations.

The proposal has now been passed to parliament,... where lawmakers will deliberate over the details and draw up a bill. But that's not expected to be easy,... especially with the proposal still very much disputed by the parties involved... and with parliament still at standstill.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.

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