[EDITORIALS]Prosecutors lobby for jobs?It is surprising to hear that Prosecutor-General Song Kwang-soo has asked senior prosecutors to refrain from lobbying for their promotion. It is said that he warned, “If there were prosecutors who lobbied for their promotions to people here and there because my term is expiring soon, I will rob them of their posts even if I have to behave obstinately.”
As the reshuffle of senior prosecutors’ posts will take place right after the inauguration of the new prosecutor-general early next month, rumors about candidates for high posts abound throughout the prosecution. Especially, there are rumors of lobbying by mobilizing school or regional connections: “Senior prosecutor A is lobbying through a governing party lawmaker who is his high school senior,” or “Senior prosecutor B has a close connection with a Blue House secretary who is from the same region.” A letter was even delivered to some media outlets, which refers to the real name of a prosecutor and explains how he is lobbying for his promotion through politicians.
We do not know to what extent the rumors are based on fact, but it is difficult to reject them as groundless. Some rumors are quite detailed, and the relationship of the people concerned reflects reality. If they are true, then the prosecution is facing a crisis in which the specter of “political prosecutors,” an open secret until a few years ago, is reviving. The situation must be serious enough to force the prosecutor-general to warn his own subordinates.
Regardless of whether it is a government or a private organization, if personnel affairs are decided by outside influence, there is no future for such an organization. The prosecution is a quasi-judicial body whose life depends on whether it secures political independence or not. Given that fact, if prosecutors lobby for their promotion through politicians, it will result in their subordinating themselves to the political community. In the past two years, the prosecutors have restored the confidence of the people through investigations of political funds used in the presidential campaign. If political prosecutors return now, the confidence they managed to restore will be lost.
To secure the political neutrality of the prosecution, the attitudes and mindsets of individual prosecutors are no less important than systemic devices. The independence of the prosecution is not given by others; the prosecutors have to defend it themselves.