[EDITORIALS]Who’s investigating what?After holding an urgent meeting of the senior prosecutors at the national prosecutors’ offices, the prosecution said it had to agree to share investigative authority with the police over petty crimes at times when prosecutors are actually commanding investigations.
That is very different from the proposal of the Uri Party, which is largely aiming at curtailing the prosecution’s investigative authority, indicating that conflict will inevitably occur when the governing party attempts to legislate its plan.
The Blue House and the Uri Party recently drafted a plan to adjust investigative authority and presented it to the prosecution and the police. The Uri Party’s plan states that the prosecution and the police are on an equal footing.
As of now, investigative authority is given exclusively to prosecutors, but the plan would provide police with the rights in the case of low-profile crimes. The plan, however, gives the prosecution the right to demand the replacement of police investigators when police probes are carried out in violation of laws or the police do not cooperate with the prosecution.
Sharing investigative authority with the police in the case of petty crimes is unavoidable. The police already handle 97 percent of criminal cases, thus suspects and witnesses have had to deal with inconveniences due to overlapping investigations by the police and the prosecutors.
And yet, protecting the human rights of the people is as important as resolving inconveniences. That is why a system in which investigations are legally controlled is necessary. It is possible that the police could violate human rights during the investigations. If a prosecutor can only ask the police to “cooperate” rather than directly command the investigation, it would be impossible to control the case under the rule of law.
Furthermore, the crimes that the police are to investigate are directly related to the everyday lives of the public. Because the public closely follows the progress of investigations, probes of grave crimes must be carried out seriously.
But the crimes that are investigated by the police are petty ones that happen in our daily lives, such as traffic accidents. There is always the likelihood of complaints and conflicts of interests involving citizens. There have been cases in which victims have been treated as offenders.
These inappropriate investigations must be corrected immediately. We must find a way to give the police investigative rights into petty crimes, while the prosecution can maintain its right to oversee and command police probes.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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