[EDITORIALS]Mr. Roh’s careless remark

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[EDITORIALS]Mr. Roh’s careless remark

The state of the administration and the governing Uri Party since President Roh Moo-hyun’s controversial Liberation Day speech shows that they are in total disarray. Mr. Roh said, “Legislation needs to be enacted to either nullify or control the application of the statute of limitations in civil and criminal proceedings over transgression by state agencies.” Clearly, such problems as unilateral presidential decision-making, the absence of a system and insufficient coordination among the Uri Party, government and Blue House remain.
The president is not just the head of the administration, but the head of the state. Since his remarks have enormous influence, they must be made in a temperate and discreet manner. We have experienced national uproars due to the words of the president more than a few times. How many more times should we suffer this?
It was a pity to see the Uri Party and the Blue House struggle with different interpretations of the remark. First of all, the secretaries who support the president were confused. On the day the remark was made, they said, “Human rights violations committed by state agencies after national liberation should be reviewed.” But they stepped back after controversy fired up, saying, “We have to have further discussions, but in principle, it is applicable only to future cases.”
On the next day, President Roh said his remarks were not meant to suggest retroactive punishment in criminal cases. This shows there was no prior discussion of the matter in the Blue House. If the Blue House staff didn’t see unconstitutional elements in the speech when they examined it, then the staff was incompetent. If it saw the problems but didn’t point them out, the staff neglected its duty.
The attitude of the Uri Party is even more pathetic. On the day the remark was made, the party defended it, saying that thorough investigations of the past should proceed. As the controversy grew, the party changed its mind and said the speech referred only to future cases. It is regrettable that its role is nothing more than to defend presidential remarks.
The remarks of the president should be made with dignity. For that, it is necessary to have an able staff and let them examine the contents of speeches in full. The Blue House should set up a system for examining the political and legal repercussions of the president’s remarks in advance so that this won’t happen again.
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