Mr. FunambulistWhile the Grand National Party has been voicing its opposition to the appointment of the next prosecutor-general by Roh Moo-hyun, a president whose term is almost over, Lim Chai-jin, head of the Legal Research and Training Institute, has been named to the position. Although Roh’s tenure will end in three months, it has been our position that it is wrong to hand the appointment to the next president, because the prosecutor-general is a public servant with a fixed tenure.
The next president’s right to name a prosecutor-general deserves some respect, but a decision to postpone the appointment may look like providing the next president with an opportunity to pick a prosecutor-general who shares his politics.
The prosecutor-general is responsible for protecting law and order and therefore should not be aligned with the political ideology of the president or anybody else.
Those who oppose an appointment at this time are concerned that the new prosecutor-general may have a political stance that is somewhat attuned to the president’s and could interpret the law in a one-sided way on the eve of the presidential election.
That is why the people are anxious about the appointment of Lim as the new prosecutor-general.
Fortunately, Lim is known to be a man of principle who has emphasized the political neutrality of the prosecution throughout his career. He is respected by junior prosecutors and has served in various prosecution and justice ministry posts. He is a man who has no reservations about giving honest and candid advice, and thus it is generally agreed that he is the right person to lead the prosecution as the presidential election approaches.
We have seen many times that all kinds of unforeseen cases can unfold on the eve of a presidential election and prosecutors can be thrown into the political turmoil. Even though Lim is a man known for political neutrality, he could be forced to make some political choices of enormous importance.
In that case, the problem would not just stain Lim’s resume but damage the political independence of the prosecution. The Republic of Korea’s judicial history would suffer another setback.
We and the nation hope that Lim will remain strong amid the political tsunami prior to the presidential election.
We hope that he will lead a prosecution that is able to walk the political tightrope with assurance and that he will be remembered for laying the groundwork for an independent prosecution.