Prosecution needs reform

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Prosecution needs reform

A series of scandals have rocked the prosecution to its core. On the heels of a case where a senior prosecutor has been charged with pocketing a huge amount of money from the ringleader of a pyramid scheme, a junior prosecutor is now under questioning for having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female suspect.

The chief of the Seoul Dongbu District Prosecutors’ Office where the trainee prosecutor was working offered to step down, but higher prosecution authority has been pressured to share accountability for the rampant malfeasance and poor discipline in the law enforcement agency.

It is shocking to learn that a prosecutor made a sexual move while questioning a female suspect and took her to a motel. The prosecutor insists the sex was consensual.

Even if there had been no bargaining or threat, it is unthinkable for a prosecutor to have an inappropriate relationship with a suspect. The prosecution’s explanation that the junior prosecutor was still under training is laughable.

Prosecutors have been involved in too many scandals to regard the latest incident as an isolated incident. It was only earlier this week that a senior prosecutor of the Seoul High District Prosecutors’ Office was arrested on charges of embezzlement. Last year it was a female prosecutor who was charged with receiving a luxury import car as a bribe and a group of prosecutors found to have been entertained by corporate sponsors in 2010.

The series of corruption cases underscore poor morale and discipline in the law enforcement office. A sweeping reform needs to be implemented to set a new foundation.

The prosecution should take the initiative in accepting various reform measures suggested by presidential candidates.

Prosecutor General Han Sand-dae said he will review all the proposals, including a shutdown of the central investigation office of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, establishment of a permanent outside counsel probe system and a new independent agency to investigate corruption of senior public officials.

The fact that the prosecutor chief hinted that the prosecution would agree to abolish the agency’s pride and joy, the central investigation department, to yield its investigative power to other authorities raises expectations for radical self-reform. But real actions are more important than words.

The prosecutor general should stake his job on carrying out reform in order to clean up the organization’s name as a gluttonous elite group and restore its credibility.


검찰이 위기다. 갈 데까지 간 느낌이다. 뇌물 검사에 이어 검사 성추문이 터져 조직 기반 자체가 흔들리고 있다. 해당 검사가 근무하던 서울동부지검장이 사의를 표명한 상황에서 검찰 지휘부도 책임을 져야 한다는 목소리가 나온다. 검찰 위상을 바로 세우는 것은 이제 절체절명의 과제가 되고 있다.
 현직 검사가 절도 혐의로 조사하던 여성과 검사실에서 유사성행위를 하고 모텔에서 성관계를 맺었다는 사실은 그야말로 충격이다. 검사가 피의자와 부적절한 관계를 가졌다는 건 어떤 이유로도 이해할 수 없다. “실무 수습 중이었다”는 검찰 변명은 구차하게 느껴진다. 개인 문제로 치부하기엔 사건 처리를 둘러싼 검사들의 추문이 빈발하고 있기 때문이다. 서울고검 검사가 내사·수사 무마를 대가로 거액의 뒷돈을 받은 혐의로 구속된 게 지난 19일이었다. 2010년의 ‘스폰서 검사’ ‘그랜저 검사’, 지난해 ‘벤츠 여검사’의 연장선에 있는 두 사건은 검찰의 기강이 무너지고 있음을 보여 주고 있다. 우리는 흐트러진 기강을 바로잡는 강도 높은 개혁이 필요하다고 본다. 검찰 스스로 대선 과정에서 제시된 개혁안을 적극 수용하는 자세가 요구된다. “중수부 폐지, 상설특검제 등 모든 안을 백지상태에서 검토하겠다”는 한상대 검찰총장의 그제 발언이 주목되는 건 그래서다. 문제는 그런 다짐이 실제 개혁안에 얼마나 반영되느냐다.

 한상대 총장은 자신의 자리를 건다는 각오로 국민이 납득할 수 있는 개혁안을 제시해야 한다. 단지 시늉을 내는 데 그친다면 검찰은 내부게시판의 개탄처럼 “사리사욕과 성욕을 채웠다”는 오명을 벗기 힘들다. 시간이 얼마 남지 않았다.
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