[EDITORIALS]Problem is crystal clearWe were surprised to learn that Prosecutor General Kim Kak-young appealed to the new justice minister, Kang Gum-sil, for the abrogation of punishment against Kim Dae-ung, former head of the Gwangju High Prosecutors Office. Reportedly, the withdrawal of an indictment against Mr. Kim and former prosecutor general, Shin Seung-nam, was also discussed.
While the Justice Ministry’s disciplinary committee was deliberating charges against Mr. Kim (leaking information on investigations) he was being prosecuted on identical charges. In Shin Seung-nam’s case, Mr. Shin was indicted on charges of leaking official secrets and the abuse of power. Some of his subordinates had already been prosecuted in connection with the power abuse case.
The charges against the two are related to the agency’s investigation into former President Kim Dae-jung’s son, Kim Hong-eop. An independent counsel found collusion between the senior prosecutors and politicians, confirming suspicions, and turned the case over to the police for investigation.
The prosecutors are myopic in citing an internal rule that disallows the acceptance of a resignation from a prosecutor who faces punishment under internal discipline because it makes personnel appointments difficult, and, therefore, the punishments should be withdrawn. This is not because the prosecutors do not judge on the nature and importance of the issue, but because they are interested in giving favor to their colleagues.
How can the importance of a public indictment be compared with the ministry’s internal action? It is contradictory that the prosecutors talk about difficulties in sustaining the indictments. Would they do the same if the accused were not former prosecutors? In cases they have prosecuted, they now talk of the indicted being innocent. Did they prosecute their innocent superiors to please the public?
Cancellation of punishment and withdrawal of indictments are a retreat from reform. It is paradoxical that they petitioned the new justice minister who strongly supports reform. This makes clear what should be reformed within the prosecutors office.