New chief justice says he’ll carry on judicial reforms

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New chief justice says he’ll carry on judicial reforms


Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae

Going against expectations that he will usher in a conservative shift in the nation’s judiciary, Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae, who was confirmed last week by the National Assembly, said yesterday that he would press ahead with reforms in the judiciary to regain the public’s trust.

“It is hard to accept the label that I am a conservative,” Yang said yesterday after his inauguration. “I don’t understand the concept of differentiating between a conservative and a liberal based on one yardstick. When you draw a line, it can create unnecessary hostility.”

The chief justice said that he did not want to be seen as a contrast to his predecessor, Lee Yong-hoon, who was appointed by President Roh Moo-hyun and was considered to be a liberal reformist.

Yang’s nomination by President Lee Myung-bak in August brought speculation that he would soothe friction between the Blue House and the judiciary under the liberal chief justice.

“I have worked with my predecessor for a long time, even before we worked together at the Supreme Court,” Yang said, who was previously a Supreme Court justice before being returning as chief justice. “It is not true that we have fundamental differences. We actually share views on many aspects.”

Yang said he would push forward with efforts to reform the judiciary because it is what the Supreme Court has desired.

“It is not a new initiative by Lee. It is an ongoing reform, and I will continue it,” Yang said.

Asked about the debate over increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court bench, Yang made his opposition clear.

“As of now, there are 13 judges including the chief justice, and I think that is still too many,” he said. “An increase will worsen the problems in the Supreme Court, which already has a hard time making unanimous rulings.”

In his inauguration speech earlier in the day, Yang said the public’s trust in the judiciary was not satisfactory, urging judges to work on building a transparent, open-minded court system. At the ceremony, the chief justice also vowed to uphold rulings made by lower courts.

“Although it is a basic idea that a trial should end without an appeal, it has become a norm in society to go through all three steps by repeating appeals,” Lee said. “We are facing enormous wastes of human and financial resources.”

Yang also said a serious review was needed in the current judicial system, including trial procedures, the organizational structure of courts and personnel management of judges.

The chief justice makes final decisions on personnel management of the country’s 2,500 judges during his single, six-year term. Yang’s first tasks will be selecting the successors of two Supreme Court justices whose terms end in November and preparing for the National Assembly’s audit, scheduled for next month.

By Ser Myo-ja, Cho Kang-su []

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

양승태 대법원장 “구속과 동시에 보석 허가 추진”

불구속 수사 원칙 강조

양승태(63·사진) 대법원장은 27일 영미계 국가에서 시행 중인 ‘보석조건부 영장제도’를 도입할 필요가 있다고 밝혔다. 이날 취임식 뒤 대법원 청사에서 열린 기자간담회에서다.

 양 대법원장은 “구속(영장)은 형벌의 사전 집행이 아니라 수사를 하기 위한 신병 확보의 수단”이라며 “구속시키면서 동시에 보석을 허가하는 제도를 도입하면 수사와 신체의 자유 보호라는 두 가지 목적을 달성할 수 있을 것”이라고 말했다. 양 대법원장은 이를 받아들이면 검찰이 요구하는 ‘영장 항고(抗告·구속영장 기각에 대해 이의를 제기할 수 있는 제도)’ 도입도 검토할 수 있다는 입장인 것으로 알려졌다.

 양 대법원장은 범죄 피의자의 인신구속 문제와 관련해 “구속영장제도에 대한 전반적인 재검토가 필요하다”고 덧붙였다. 그는 “기본적으로 불구속 수사의 원칙은 형사소송법에 명문화돼 있다”며 “이는 법원에서 원칙을 추구해야 하는, 양보할 수 없는 부분이다”고 밝혔다. 이에 따라 영장제도 재검토 과정에서 법원과 검찰이 마찰을 빚을 가능성도 있다.
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