[EDITORIALS]Thwarting the courtChoi Do-sul, a former aide to president Roh Moo-hyun, refused yesterday to testify at the Constitutional Court, which is deliberating the impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun. The case might not proceed on schedule.
The people’s biggest wish is that the current deliberations in the case and the court’s decision would be finished as soon as possible so that the political circus surrounding the impeachment can be ended quickly.
Mr. Choi is also on trial on corruption charges. He has the right to refuse to give any testimony that might influence his own trial. The law dictates that he has the right to refuse to testify if a matter involves himself or a direct relative. Nevertheless, the fact that he declined to testify despite taking the oath as a witness is wrong.
The reason why Mr. Choi was chosen as a witness can be traced to his involvement in alleged corruption by presidential aides. That is one of the three specifications in the impeachment bill passed by the National Assembly.
According to the prosecution, Mr. Choi had received, either shortly before or shortly after the presidential election, 1.63 billion won ($1.4 million) in bribes from companies. An additional inquiry uncovered another 490 million won in bribes that he had allegedly received. In addition, according to the prosecution, he hid about 300 million won from the presidential campaign funds in order to use it later, but only reported that fact to the president in August, right before an investigation by the prosecution was to take place.
His refusal to testify leaves only the option of discovering the truth through existing records of those alleged transactions.
The impeachment trial is not an ordinary trial. It has resulted in the suspension of the president for the first time in the history of our constitution. Hence, those who have been selected to testify have to cooperate so a quick decision can be made.
That is the only way of taking responsibility for being part of something that caused the impeachment of the president in the first place.
Looking at the Constitutional Court lightly or trying to delay the trial on purpose, just because election results have turned out for the better for some, is something that cannot be forgiven.