[EDITORIALS]Don’t rush the judicial reforms

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[EDITORIALS]Don’t rush the judicial reforms

The conflict between prosecutors and the Presidential Committee on Judicial Reform over how to reform criminal court proceedings has developed to the point where the prosecutors are objecting to the reform plan collectively. After an emergency meeting Monday night, about 100 prosecutors at Seoul’s Central District Prosecutors Office issued a statement opposing the commission’s draft revision of the Criminal Procedure Act. Similar actions were taken at the prosecutors offices in Busan, Daegu and Daejeon yesterday. This is spreading nationwide.
It is worth listening to the prosecutors’ opinion that the commission is forcing through a radical change without collecting people’s opinions, and without a verification procedure. It is known that the commission produced its draft within a week, without holding a public hearing.
If we adopt a “court-centered” judicial system, we will have to drastically increase the number of judges, because litigation will take longer. That is why it is called a “high-cost, low-efficiency” system. Therefore, it is essential to solicit the opinion of the people and get their consent. But the commission presented the draft without holding a public hearing, which is why people suspect that it is trying to push ahead under a predetermined schedule.
No one will object to the cause of protecting defendants’ human rights during court proceedings. The court-centered judicial system is one way of doing so. It is a format that follows an Anglo-American legal tradition, different from ours. If the commission clings to this system on the grounds that it is more effective in protecting defendants’ rights, while disregarding the difficulties it could create for investigations, it is putting the cart before the horse. A court-centered judicial system can’t be the goal of reform.
The prosecutors shouldn’t be blamed for demanding an improved environment for investigation. But neither should they be taking collective action. As their concerns are conveyed to the appropriate authorities, they should stop issuing statements from their local offices nationwide.
The presidential commission must promote judicial reform stage by stage, so that the protection of human rights and the problems with investigations can be resolved in harmony. The prosecutors should stop protesting, but should also try hard to get rid of their old practices of relying on confession and investigation reports, by developing various scientific investigative techniques.
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