[EDITORIALS]Prosecutors office puzzling

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[EDITORIALS]Prosecutors office puzzling

The prosecutors office will reportedly undergo a major shake-up soon. Several chief prosecutors and those of equal or higher rank will reportedly be transferred. Because it has been less than six months since there was a large round of personnel transfers, following the appointment of Prosecutor General Lee Myung-jae, the reason given for the new transfers seems almost forced. Thus, questions arise over the actual scale and explanations for this shake-up.

The Ministry of Justice has begun revising the present organization of the prosecutors office so that the chief prosecutors and other high-ranking officials at the office can be appointed as faculty members at the Legal Research and Training Institute, where the ministry's public officials are trained.

The practice of appointing acting prosecutors as faculty members ended in 1986 when criticism arose that it was merely a pretext to provide jobs for insiders with more political influence than actual qualifications. An insider in the ministry offers the explanation that this move is being made to find an easy way to transfer Kim Dae-woong, the Gwangju chief prosecutor who was suspended for leaking information about an investigation.

The Ministry of Justice should show a law-abiding spirit and faithfulness to principles and pave the way for the establishment of legal order. It is a disgrace to see the ministry and the prosecutors office bending the rules. Moreover, is not the people's attention being focused on these two institutes these days with the investigation of the president's sons and the allegations concerning presidential candidate Lee Hoi-chang's son's military service exemption?

There is reason to doubt the legitimacy of these personnel transfers when the entire organization is being changed in order to implement them without any particular or urgent reason. It is also undesirable to leave a precedent of increasing the number of high-ranking officials in the prosecutors office beyond the prescribed number of seats. Trying to tame the prosecutors office or to start planting insiders in it as the administration draws to an end will only end up harming the office's respectability.

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