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[EDITORIAL] Prosecutor General's Rash Behavior

Jan 08,2001
The prosecutor general, Park Soon-young, held a press conference on Monday morning and revealed the prosecution's stance on the investigation into the National Security Planning Agency's diversion of money to the former ruling camp during the 1996 general elections. It is unprecedented that the head of the prosecution called a press conference to explain the nature of the ongoing case. Furthermore, he did not disclose anything new and the rest of his arguments remained at the level of principles. We are curious as to why he suddenly felt compelled to call a press conference.

During the conference, Mr. Park said, "Probing the illegal funneling into campaign funds constitutes an investigation into a grave criminal act, the embezzlement of the national budget, and the nature of the case should not change depending on political interests." He went on to emphasize: "Both the ruling party and the opposition should refrain from a tactical response and actively cooperate with the investigation."

He has merely stated what is obvious. Above all, the timing and the purpose of the conference are suspect. Since one of his officers has been in charge of the probe, it was not something for which the prosecutor general was expected to come forward. Besides, it is not realistically viable to express his concern that it might become a political issue amid full-fledged mudslinging between the ruling party and the opposition.

Whoever looks at it, the current investigation is entirely disadvantageous to the opposition. Given this fact, the prosecutor general should have been cautious about coming forward, thus inviting doubts over his ulterior motives. Only a month ago Mr. Park was the object of an impeachment bill by the opposition. As it is, the Grand National Party is describing the investigation as a vendetta.

It is customary that the head of the prosecution does not even testify in the National Assembly in the name of the prosecution's independence and its political neutrality. The prosecutor general must have known that the public confidence in the prosecution has ebbed to the lowest level. It is regretful that his press conference is liable to damage investigation results.


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