[EDITORIALS]Reforming the Reformers

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[EDITORIALS]Reforming the Reformers

The reform of the prosecution has been initiated by the National Assembly. The ruling and opposition parties agreed to discuss ways to strengthen the fairness and political independence of the prosecution at a special committee for political reform. We can expect that something meaningful will result from the discussion since it was launched by the ruling party contrary to general practice. We can no longer put off the task of reforming the prosecution. The question of whether or not the investigation by the prosecution is done properly and thoroughly erupts whenever a sensitive political scandal breaks out. This shows how tarnished the public image of the prosecution is and how urgent a reform of it is needed.

It is best for all kinds of reforms to be done voluntarily. It is a national tragedy that can cause dishonor and humiliation when the prosecution, the most powerful investigative authority, must be reformed by others. Though people have waited for voluntary reform, they are left with disappointment and a sinking feeling. What would cause the ruling party to propose to reform the prosecution first, other than that the public opinion of the prosecution is exceptionally bad?

The focus of prosecution reform should be on how to secure the independence and political neutrality of the prosecution. Public criticism of the prosecution stems from those two characteristics. That is why all discussions of prosecution reform must focus on the two.

We think it is of utmost importance to reform the personnel procedure in the prosecution. A parliamentary hearing on the newly appointed prosecutor general, in which lawmakers decide whether or not to approve the appointment, can be introduced, while making sure the two years of the legal term for the prosecutor general is guaranteed. Or we can make the personnel commission of the prosecution function what it is supposed to do, while moving the power to appoint prosecutors from the justice minister to the prosecutor general. Meanwhile, it is the time to review whether or not to abolish the clauses in the Public Prosecutors Office Act stipulating that the rule of having a top-down order and the rule of considering one prosecutor's decision as the same as the decision by the whole prosecution, should be kept.
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