[EDITORIALS]Can shock therapy work?The prosecution has been stirred by the appointment of Kang Gum-sil as justice minister, one of the most unconventional appointments by President Roh Moo-hyun. People are watching to see whether this appointment, which goes against tradition in terms of gender, age and hierarchy, will lead to reform or bring more dissatisfaction by creating conflict and confusion.
Minister Kang’s plan is, in essence, to separate the prosecution from the justice ministry’s administrative duties. It means that the old practice of the justice minister intervening in investigations will be discarded. Investigations will be left to the prosecution; the ministry will function as an administrative branch for judicial affairs.
In the past prosecutors were disgraced because they tried to read the minds of politicians. They were called, “political prosecutors.” If the minister’s plan materializes, it will provide the prosecution a chance to be born again. Mr. Roh has already warned against certain investigations by the prosecutors. He has also said: “The prosecutors should be prosecutors for the people not for the power.”
In connection with separating the roles of the prosecution and Justice Ministry, Minister Kang’s remark that she will check the prosecution by holding the right to appoint prosecutors attracts our attention. The independence of the prosecution depends on correcting biased personnel policies that have been exploited by politicians. As long as they can be dismissed by the justice minster, prosecutors will, regardless of transparency and fairness of personnel policy, bow to the minster. This will become another type of intervention. Junior prosecutors proposed in their reform plan to hand over appointment rights to the prosecution and to upgrade the personnel council to a consultative organ. This sounds more reasonable.
Some people predict that the new minister will fail, but the prosecutors should reflect on the reason why such a person is appointed and who is responsible for it. Others reckon that the “shock therapy” is unavoidable. Ms. Kang should keep in mind that shaking up the prosecution in this way under a Roh administration will be criticized severely.