[EDITORIALS]Protecting human rightsA subcommittee to the Supreme Court on legal reform recently drafted revisions to current regulations regarding the detainment of suspects, suggesting the approval of bail during the period when prosecutors review the arrest warrant.
If the revisions take effect after going through the required legal procedures, we expect an increase in the number of investigations and trials that take place without the detention of suspects. With the prosecution also considering plans to establish a reform committee for its investigative system and practices, we believe that we have arrived at a turning point in protecting human rights.
The Criminal Procedure Act states that it is possible to hold those involved in detention only in cases where the suspect or defendant does not have a fixed residence and is likely to destroy evidence or flee. This allowed law enforcement officials to detain suspects before the trial process. It has even led to a misunderstanding by the Korean people that those who have been detained are guilty.
In light of the situation, it’s a heartening sign that the subcommittee seeks changes that allow people to request bond when arrest warrants are issued. Currently, only those that have been indicted can request bond.
Considering that it takes 20 to 30 days from detention to indictment, the reforms will allow for a quicker release of suspects. The consolidation of the currently complicated regulations on acquitting and allowing suspects to request bond anytime during the trial is meaningful as it will allow more suspects to get a chance to post bond.
Another proposal by the subcommittee, for a system that would allow suspects to post bond by signing a contract promising appearance in court, is also welcome. Because current laws require money or securities as collateral, many people have been saying that “cash clears all crimes.”
If the number of cases and investigations that take place without detaining those involved increase, certain side effects can be expected. Suspects might hold up the court by trying to get rid of evidence or failing to appear for trial. But when viewed from a perspective of protecting human rights, we hope these problems can be solved with systematic devices.