Police’s ambition to gain independence offends prosecutors

Home > National > Politics

print dictionary print

Police’s ambition to gain independence offends prosecutors

테스트

Cho Hyun-oh, Police Commissioner General / Kim Joon-gyu, Prosecutor General

Ever since a National Assembly committee said it would push to revise a law that would free police from the prosecution’s supervision in criminal investigations, a feud between prosecutors and police has turned ugly.

The idea of adjusting the authority of investigation rights in criminal cases between the prosecution and police isn’t new. The two sides have battled over investigative rights for years.

Police had originally pushed for expansion of their investigation rights more 10 years ago, but their attempt failed when they lost momentum and lost the public trust after prosecutors uncovered a series of corruption cases involving police officials.

While police have been trying to gain a greater measure of independence in conducting criminal investigations, which are now under the tight control of the nation’s prosecutors, prosecutors have countered that if police are given more power without their supervision, the police could be in danger of committing human rights violations in the line of duty.

The current law defines the prosecution as the main investigative body and supervisors of the police. The National Assembly’s committee for judicial reform this month wants to reduce the supervisory authority of the prosecution and expand the investigatory authority of police.

In a May 26 meeting with senior police officials, National Police Agency Commissioner Cho Hyun-oh resurrected the issue, telling police officials that in order to attain the National Assembly’s planned law revision, “all police officials should devote themselves to the issue even if they have to risk their jobs for it.”

Cho’s remarks raised the ire of the prosecution and Prosecutor General Kim Joon-gyu said the police had gone too far.

“A public serviceman should risk his job for the sake of the nation and the people. It’s not right to ask them to risk their jobs only for the sake of their own organization,” Kim said in a meeting with regional prosecutors on May 27. “If police investigate cases with their exclusive investigative judgment, there will be cases where innocent people get wronged.”

Another senior prosecutor expressed his anger during the meeting.

“Isn’t risking one’s job for an organization like stories about what gangsters are told to do?” the senior prosecutor asked.

Not long after prosecutors’ reactions were reported in the media, Park Jong-jun, a senior National Police Agency official, expressed his unhappiness at the prosecutor’s remarks.

“It’s very regretful that the other organization criticized remarks the national police chief made in its insider meeting. His intent was to draw police officials into the issue,” Park said in a press conference on May 27.

Referring to the “gangster” remark, Park said prosecutors should refrain from using terms that could offend the police.

Commissioner Cho told the JoongAng Ilbo on Sunday that prosecutors are trying to reverse the National Assembly’s planned revision bill through prosecutors who have become lawmakers.

“Under the current law, police are required to investigate cases under the supervision of the prosecution, but in reality, there are more cases in which police launch investigations into cases first without the prosecution’s supervision,” Cho said. “Some regard the relationship of the prosecution and the police as ‘master and servant’ and others have even referred to each side as ‘master and slave.’ ”


By Kim Mi-ju, Lee Ka-young [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [연합]

검찰-경찰 ‘수사권 조정’ 놓고 날선 설전

檢 "경찰이 너무해…직(職)을 걸다니 조폭이냐"

警 "치안총수 발언 폄훼에 유감…직원들 분개"

국회 사법개혁특위가 검ㆍ경 수사권 조정 문제를 논의 중인 가운데 27일 검찰과 경찰 수뇌부가 서로 발언을 비판하며 설전을 벌였다.

김준규 검찰총장은 이날 오전 간부회의를 주재한 자리에서 전날 조현오 경찰청장이 `수사권 조정 문제에 자신의 직위를 건다는 자세로 임하라`고 간부들에게 지시한 것을 강도 높게 비판했다.

대검찰청에 따르면 김 총장은 "국회 사법개혁 논의와 관련해 경찰이 너무 지나치다"며 "나라와 국민이 아닌 조직만을 위해 직위를 거는 것은 공직자의 바른 자세가 아니다"라고 지적했다.

다른 대검 간부들도 "조직을 위해 직(職)을 건다는 건 조폭들이나 하는 얘기", "국민의 생명, 신체, 재산과 관련된 수사권 문제를 수장이 명령을 내려 자기 뜻대로 하겠다는 것은 슬프고 안타까운 일"이라고 말했다고 회의 참석자가 전했다.

대검은 뒤이어 박용석 차장검사 주재로 화상회의 시스템을 통해 전국 검찰청 차장회의를 열고 일선 검찰청의 의견을 수렴했다.

검찰은 앞으로 수사권 조정 등 사법제도 개혁논의에 관해 광범위한 의견수렴을 위해 공청회, 학회 등을 마련하고 필요하면 경찰 간부들과 만나 의견을 교환할 방침이라고 밝혔다.

하지만 이러한 검찰 수뇌부의 발언이 전해지자 경찰이 발끈했다.

박종준 경찰청 차장은 이날 오후 긴급 기자간담회를 자청해 "치안 총수가 내부회의에서 조직 현안에 관심을 두도록 당부한 것을 다른 기관에서 폄훼한 것은 심히 유감스럽다"고 말했다.

그는 이어 "경찰이 검찰의 지휘를 받지 않겠다는 것이 아닌데 `너무 욕심낸다`, `무리한 이야기 하는 것 아니냐`고 하는 것은 타당한 이야기가 아니고 적절치도 않다"고 비판했다.

박 차장은 경찰을 `조폭`으로 비유한 대검 간부의 발언에도 "적절한 (발언) 수준이 필요하고, 용어도 절제되는 게 바람직하다. 그 발언의 수준이나 용어 사용 절제는 국민이 평가할 것"이라고 했다.

간담회에 참석한 다른 경찰 간부들도 "믿기지 않는다", "검찰 고위직이 설마 그런 이야기를 했겠나"라는 반응을 보였고, 한 간부는 "직원들이 `그럼 내가 조폭이냐`고 분개하고 있다"고 내부 분위기를 전했다.

More in Politics

Britain accepts Korea's P4G invite, and Korea at G7 likely

Ahn Cheol-soo's open primary idea rejected again by PPP

Corruption-slaying CIO officially starts up

To the loyalists go the spoils in Moon administration

Moon reshuffles to concentrate on North, security

Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

What’s Popular Now