[EDITORIALS]Respect Assembly’s vote

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[EDITORIALS]Respect Assembly’s vote

The bill introducing an independent counsel to investigate the alleged corruption of some of President Roh’s close aides has passed with an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly, but the Ministry of Justice and the prosecution have threatened to come up with a way to nullify it. The ministry has hinted that it will ask the president to veto it, while the prosecution is carefully exploring the possibility of appealing the decision through the ministry to the Constitutional Court.
We don’t think the prosecution is right to oppose it. The National Assembly’s right to introduce a new bill has to be respected, and the approval of any bill by two-thirds of the lawmakers should be viewed as a decision of the people.
Prosecutors argue that an independent counsel would not only limit the probe but would take away the investigatory powers of the prosecutors now on the case. Though there are grounds for such an argument, under the separation of powers, the National Assembly’s decision should still be accepted.
We know that, unlike in the past, the prosecution has won the people’s trust through some big cases in the past couple of months. Nevertheless, these investigations have turned up very little, and so the prosecution bears some responsibility for creating the need for an independent counsel. Initially, when President Roh was first briefed on his secretary Choi Do-sul’s alleged corruption, he said he was shocked. But what was thought to be a major case has turned out to be minor, and nothing of importance has been found in the two-month investigation of Yang Gil-seung, another Blue House secretary.
If the prosecution investigates the president’s close aides, citizens might not trust the results, because the president has the right to name key positions in the ministry and prosecution. An independent counsel could remove the appearance of a conflict of interest that stems from such technical issues. We sincerely hope the prosecution does not squander the hard-won trust through arrogance. By accepting the National Assembly’s vote, the prosecution will gain more credibility.

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