[EDITORIALS]Stay away, prosecutors

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[EDITORIALS]Stay away, prosecutors

As the reshuffle in the prosecutors office nears, the Blue House has decided to send back six prosecutors who had been dispatched to serve the presidential secretary office. The posts will be replaced by private lawyers. We welcome the decision, although it came belatedly.

Dispatching prosecutors to the Blue House was undeniably illegal. It is stipulated in the second paragraph of Article 44 of the Public Prosecutors' Office Act that a prosecutor cannot be dispatched to the presidential secretariat and hold a position as presidential secretary concurrently. In 1997, President Kim Dae-jung, then the leader of the opposition party, argued that prosecutors' service in the Blue House damages political neutrality of the prosecution, and both the opposition and ruling parties agreed to add the clause. But during the Kim Young-sam administration and now, the government has ignored the amendments and persisted in having incumbent prosecutors serve in the Blue House. Upon being assigned to the Blue House, prosecutors would repeatedly resign their jobs, only to later return to the prosecution.

The practice of dispatching prosecutors to the Blue House to advise the president on legal matters has come under protest. Whenever prosecutors investigated corruption scandals, politicians tried to cover up the cases by manipulating the prosecutors behind the scenes. The prosecutors working in the Blue House were involved in those attempts. Moreover, the prosecutors in the Blue House have failed to serve as two-way channels connecting both the prosecution and the Blue House; they acted arrogantly through borrowed authority from the Blue House, causing ill-will. Even after their service in the Blue House, prosecutors have been criticized for being politically promoted or engaged in corruption ?sometimes suffering criminal punishment and often losing the public's trust.

Since the political impartiality of the prosecution has become the ultimate mission at this point, it stands to reason that the practice of dispatching prosecutors to the Blue House be discontinued. In order to prevent the practice from reoccurring, it is necessary to institutionalize and formulate the discontinuation.
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