Grand jury system being eyed

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Grand jury system being eyed

The prosecution yesterday launched civilian panels to monitor its investigation and indictment procedures on major cases, a preliminary move before adopting the American-style grand jury system to reform the country’s law enforcement.

The Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office said it has set up 41 monitoring panels, comprised of 629 civilians, under local prosecutors’ offices. Upon prosecutors’ request, they will deliberate on major criminal cases such as bribery, political funding and corruption, it said.

The move is part of a reform plan announced in June following a bribery scandal implicating prosecution officials.

Critics have argued that the prosecutors hold excessive, unsupervised power as the exclusive body with authority to indict. Korea’s legal system was last amended 62 years ago.

Until the grand jury system is formally legislated, the monitoring panel will operate at each of the local prosecution offices. Members of the panels were appointed last month.

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