[EDITORIALS]A regrettable row

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[EDITORIALS]A regrettable row

We regret the current phase in which the president and the prosecutor-general are at odds over the shutdown of the Central Investigation Department at the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office. Mr. Roh, during yesterday’s cabinet meeting, strongly criticized Prosecutor-General Song Kwang-soo’s resistance to such a move.
Mr. Roh said, “It is very inappropriate for the head of an organization to publicly and radically express his opinion about a government policy measure on which the organization’s interest is dependent.” Mr. Song said, “The shutdown is intended by those who were displeased by the investigation of illegal campaign financing of the 2002 presidential election to incapacitate the prosecution.”
It is not pleasant to see the president express anger over the prosecutor-general’s complaint. Mr. Song’s remark was just an expression of concern over the issue. Admittedly, the remark was wild. But we do not understand why Mr. Roh squared off against Mr. Song so strongly.
What the president said during the cabinet meeting is right: “When a powerful public authority expresses a strong opinion for the public, then the public will become uneasy.” That would apply to the president himself, the highest public authority. We are worried because Mr. Roh makes both the prosecutor-general and the public feel uneasy.
It is even more inappropriate for Mr. Roh to warn Mr. Song, mentioning his fixed term. The term system for a prosecutor-general is required not only for investigatory independence but also for the stability of the organization. The prosecutor-general’s two-year term must be observed so that the prosecution cannot be influenced by politics.
But Mr. Roh said, “It should be borne in mind that the term system exists for the independence of the investigation, not for the prosecutor-general to issue a strong, unilateral opinion against the government’s policy.” We worry the remark was made to influence him to resign.
If it is necessary to remove the department, then it should be discussed among the Blue House, the Justice Ministry and the prosecution to reach a conclusion. We hope that each party can remain calm, return to reason and take care of the issue wisely.
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