[EDITORIALS]Persecuted prosecutorsThe resignation speeches by two heads of high public prosecutors' offices, who voluntarily stepped down recently, became the chief topic of conversation inside and outside judicial circles. The two men examined in their speeches the causes of the crises that prosecutors face today and proposed in outspoken words the direction that prosecutors should take.
Resigning on Friday as the head of the High Public Prosecutors Office in Busan, Shim Je-ryoon said, "Since the crisis in the prosecution was caused by improper personnel appointments and intervention in the prosecutors' authority, the highest person in the government, who has the right of personnel management, is the most responsible for the current situation."
Mr. Shim's remark runs counter to the president's argument that the government suffered from the prosecutors' wrongdoings. Mr. Shim clearly pinched the nerve of the problems in the prosecution because the prosecution lost the public's confidence due to its failure to maintain political neutrality. Mr. Shim's criticism is convincing. Including the prosecutor general, senior prosecutors had to step down one after another because of their involvement in corruption scandals. Even the presidential legal adviser was arrested.
One day before Mr. Shim's resignation, Kim Kyung-han voluntarily resigned as the head of the High Public Prosecutors Office in Seoul. In his resignation speech, Mr. Kim asked himself, "Have I ever served for the gains of the strong people and ignored the unfair treatment of the poor and of social outcasts?" He confessed that he is deeply ashamed of himself for committing such behavior during his prosecution career. Mr. Kim also said that the prosecutors are primarily responsible for the current crisis. Since many prosecutors often tried to form cozy relations with politicians to be promoted, political conflicts ended up in the way of all affairs of the prosecution.
The only means for the prosecution to overcome its current predicament is to shut off outside intervention and to reflect on prosecutors themselves. The new prosecutor general also declared the need to block all outside influences. That promise and will should be demonstrated at the forthcoming reshuffle of the prosecution.