Slight compromise on probe rights

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Slight compromise on probe rights

The National Assembly’s Legislation and Judiciary Committee yesterday approved a revision clause of the Criminal Procedure Law that will restructure investigative powers between police and prosecutors, with an additional compromise in the final step before a vote as lawmakers differed over the specifics of the arrangement.

The details of the prosecutors’ supervision over police investigations will be delegated to presidential decree, not by the justice minister’s ordinance, while retaining Clause 1 of Article 196, which stated that judicial police officers are under the command of prosecutors for all investigations.

After a months-long dispute, the special committee on judicial reform last week approved a series of changes to restructure the power to investigate crimes by the nation’s law enforcement authorities. The justice reform bill was reviewed by the Legislation and Judiciary Committee of the National Assembly yesterday but lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties continued to fight each other over the planned changes.

While the ruling Grand National Party and some opposition lawmakers said the reform plan must be approved as agreed, the main opposition Democratic Party said it won’t accept some specifics of the planned changes.

One particular term that stirred the disagreement was a planned revision of the Criminal Procedure Law. Under the revision bill, Clause 1 of Article 196 stated that judicial police officers are under the command of prosecutors for all investigations. The interpretation of “all” investigations has already triggered a strong protest from the police.

The Democrats argued yesterday that the word “all” should be removed from the bill because the prosecutors will have excessive authority under the current revision plan.

They also demanded a change in the initial agreement that the Justice Ministry will issue orders to decide the specifics of the prosecution’s supervision of the police. The DP said the order should be issued by the president, not the Justice Ministry.

Representative Park Jie-won of the Democratic Party argued that the word “all” is unreasonable. “While the reform is intended to provide some independent investigative rights for the police, the bill will actually strengthen the prosecution’s authority over the police,” Park said.

The DP’s arguments, however, faced strong protests by the conservative lawmakers.

“All justice reform plans must be handled as a package. We cannot make an exception for the Criminal Procedure Law,” said Representative Shin Ji-ho. “If we make changes, there will be a chain reaction and more and more demands will be made to revise the bills.”

Another lawmaker, Roh Chul-rae of the Future and Hope Alliance, said the bills should be approved as they were initially agreed. “If we make changes now, then reform is impossible even two or three years later,” he said. As the lawmakers continued to spar over specifics of the bill, some police officials planned their first group action to promote their investigative rights. A discussion session was scheduled for last night and police officers in charge of investigations were to attend the meeting. About 100 police officers working in Seoul and its vicinities are expected to join. The meeting is also taking place after petitions to protest the planned changes, signed by 4,000 university professors, students, former police and families of incumbent police officers, were delivered to the Legislation and Judiciary Committee on Monday.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [연합]

‘모든 수사’ 존치…법사위, 수사권 절충안 의결

국회 법제사법위원회는 28일 검ㆍ경 수사권 조정과 관련된 형사소송법 개정안에 경찰관에 대한 검사의 수사지휘 범위를 '모든 수사'로 유지하기로 했다.

그러나 검사의 지휘에 관한 구체사항은 민주당의 요구를 받아들여 법무부령이 아니라 대통령령으로 정하도록 했다.

법사위는 이날 오후 전체회의에서 지난주 국회 사법개혁특별위가 의결한 형소법 개정안과 관련해 이 같은 절충안을 마련해 여야 합의로 의결했다.

당초 민주당은 개정안 제196조1항 '사법경찰관은 모든 수사에 관해 검사의 지휘를 받는다'에서 '모든'이라는 용어를 삭제하고, 3항 '검사의 지휘에 관한 구체적 사항은 법무부령으로 정하도록 한다' 가운데 법무부령을 대통령령으로 정할 것을 요구했었다.

한나라당은 그동안 개정안을 가능한 원안대로 통과시키자는 입장이었으나 민주당과의 입장차를 좁히지 못하고, 국회 행정안전위원회 소속 여야 의원들까지 원안에 반발하자 이 같은 절충안에 동의한 것으로 알려졌다.

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