[EDITORIALS]Wait for the prosecutorsThe Uri Party is planning to put forth a special law establishing a non-governmental fact-finding commission to decide whether to make public the contents of the recordings made by the National Security Planning Agency’s surveillance team. The governing party says there is no choice but to pass this law, because of the legal obstacles posed by the current privacy statutes. Making public the content of these tapes, which are the product of illegal surveillance, is forbidden by the current laws, and so there needs to be a special resolution, according to the party.
There can be no objection to the proposition that the illegal eavesdropping scandal must be thoroughly investigated. It must be made clear who was involved in the surveillance, what use was made of the recordings and whether any of the tapes or transcripts have been doctored. But we object to the passage of a special law making the tapes’ content public when the prosecutors have not even finished their probe. That would damage the stability of law enforcement and discourage public trust in the prosecutors’ investigation.
Some in the legal community have pointed out that the constitutionality of such a special law would be debatable. If the purpose of making the tapes public is to use their contents as evidence in possible investigations, then the special law might seek to extend the statute of limitations, since many of the incidents mentioned in the tapes took place several years ago. That would violate the Constitution, which forbids retroactive legislation.
Nevertheless, the governing party is rushing to establish this special law, and that is why they and other politicians are being criticized for appealing to populism. Just a few days ago, the Uri Party said it would wait for the results of the prosecution’s probe, but now it has changed its position. The Democratic Party has also changed its position, and now supports the special law. Under the present circumstance, the question of making the tapes public will probably be decided based on political interests.
Right now, the most important task is to get an accurate picture of what happened. Politicians must support the prosecutors’ investigation. If the results are lacking, then the governing and opposition parties can appoint an independent counsel. If that independent counsel’s investigation proves insufficient, then a special law can be considered. It won’t be too late.