Order in the courts

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Order in the courts

News spread quickly that a 39-year-old judge called a 69-year-old plaintiff “ill-mannered,” revealing the type of blunt talk often used in the courtroom and across the country’s legal system.

According to the National Human Rights Committee, more than 500 people applied for consultation sessions between July 2007 and June 2009 over alleged verbal abuse by prosecutors. Applicants complained that they felt extremely insulted and humiliated by the rough talk and violent language that prosecutors or investigators used while investigating cases.

They make some harsh assertions. In some cases, those who filed complaints said they were asked, “Do you want to die?” In others, they were allegedly told that they were “arrogant” or that people with their surname were “stupid.”

How can we call ourselves a mature democratic society when citizens are abused in this manner and scolded in court? The National Human Rights Committee’s announcement shows that many people are subject to abusive verbal assaults by those in power in the legal system. It’s important to note that the prosecution has made efforts to tape investigation interviews to help prevent such abuse. Nevertheless, many people still feel intimidated when they are called in to speak with prosecutors.

And it’s not just confined to a particular type of person. The feeling is similar for plaintiffs, defendants, suspects and witnesses interviewed in closed inspection rooms.

Falling out of favor with prosecutors is rarely a good thing, so many people submit to the verbal barrage.

The duty of a prosecutor is to discover the truth, eradicate crime and realize social justice. The prerequisite of love for people and respect of human rights should lie behind this duty.

Each prosecutor takes an oath to be “a warm prosecutor who takes care of the weak and isolated, a fair prosecutor who only seeks the truth” and one who agrees “to serve the people with all my soul and might.” This is why we need to part ways with the old-fashioned investigation methods that use verbal abuse and shouting to coerce people into talking.

The people have the right to receive dignified and fair investigations and trials. Above all, painful self-reflection is required to raise the character and personality of judges and prosecutors.

The people will feel they are “equal before the law” only when the legal system comprises courteous judges and prosecutors.
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