[EDITORIALS]Prosecutor Deserves a Reality Check

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[EDITORIALS]Prosecutor Deserves a Reality Check

Speaking to reporters Tuesday in Gwangju, Prosecutor General Shin Seung-nam strongly resisted the opposition parties' demand for him to appear at the National Assembly's Judiciary Committee and for him to resign, saying, "The prosecution didn't do anything wrong."

Apparently upset, the opposition parties dubbed his remark a "declaration of a war against the people and the opposition." Mr. Shin replied that the opposition parties were ordering him around even though he and the prosecution have done nothing wrong. "How exactly is the prosecution involved in the major financial scandals?" asked the top prosecutor. Mr. Shin went so far as to say that if the independent counsel that the opposition parties want so much fails to uncover the truth, the parties should be held accountable for causing confusion and inflicting damages on the Korean people.

We are surprised and dumbfounded that Mr. Shin's understanding of the situation is so distant from public expectations. If the prosecution indeed has not done anything wrong, how are we to interpret the lingering suspicion that it went easy on high officials and covered up evidence while investigating the three major financial scandals? What about the alleged involvement of senior prosecutors in the scandals and the failure of the prosecution to investigate National Intelligence Service officials who admitted their involvement? Why did Justice Minister Choi Kyung-won issue a special directive to the prosecutor general in September saying the prosecution's investigation into the Lee Yong-ho scandal did not live up to public expectations? The Justice Ministry hurriedly announced a set of measures to reform the prosecution last month.

The prosecution's instances of wrongdoing are numerous. Within the past several months, the prosecution has appeared in newspapers and on television almost every day. In a survey of 1,000 Seoul residents, 70.9 percent said the prosecution was not doing its job properly. Mr. Shin cannot be free of blame, for his brother allegedly received money from a scandalous figure.

We have already called on the prosecutor general to conduct a thorough investigation . If he does not have the resolve to do so, he should voluntarily resign. But if his understanding of the situation is so far from reality, then there is no alternative but to have President Kim Dae-jung decide his fate.
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