[EDITORIALS]Truth commission jurisdictionThe government and Uri Party agreed to change the affiliation of the Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths from directly under the president to under the National Assembly. They also agreed to put together 13 draft bills requiring the truth of the past and restoration of honor.
The first and second commissions acted against the people’s sentiment in the absence of supervision of other agencies, because it was under the president directly. It earned people’s wrath by recommending former North Korean spies and partisans, who died in prison resisting conversion, as contributors to Korea’s democratization. And they exercised exclusive power by employing former North Korean spies and members of anti-state organizations as investigators and letting them probe military commanders and former defense ministers under the excuse of investigating suspicious deaths at military units.
Because of such bad side effects, it was unavoidable to re-examine the overall operation of the commission, including the scope of activity, methods of investigation and affiliation. There is also a necessity to check and control its operation and activities. In order to prevent its investigations from being exploited for political purposes, it is desirable to put the commission under the Assembly. If the results of investigations are finalized by the Assembly, ruthless ones intended to serve personal vengeance will disappear.
The unlimited right to impose punishment retroactively, promoted by some legislators, must not be granted to the commission, because it will create conflict with the regulations of the criminal code. Making refusal of an order of accompaniment punishable by imprisonment, and giving the commision the right to trace bank accounts without a warrant must be thoroughly reviewed, since they may violate constitutional rights.
While making the commission’s operation more reasonable, it is necessary to strictly limit the indiscreet exposure of the past. It is worrisome how it can verify the truth of the Donghak Farmers’ Revolution over 100 years ago, and restore the honor of the people concerned. Surrounding incidents like the Jeju 4.3 Massacre and Samcheong Educational Corps, interests of various groups and different views are intertwined. They need a careful approach. There are issues that should be left to history to decide. It is wrong to call such issues into the political arena.