Park, Moon vow to reform prosecution

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Park, Moon vow to reform prosecution

The two leading presidential candidates yesterday vowed to scale back the authority of the prosecution and reform its personnel management system after a wave of scandals involving prosecutors.

The reputation of the country’s law enforcement agency has been tarnished by bribery and sex scandals involving prosecutors. Prosecutor General Han Sang-dae resigned Friday after his leadership was challenged by senior prosecutors.

Responding to growing calls for sweeping reforms against prosecutors who abuse their power, the presidential candidates came up with a set of reform measures, including disbanding the Central Investigation Unit that has been at the center of controversy over its alleged political bias in handling high-profile cases.

In a press conference, Park Geun-hye, the 60-year-old candidate of the ruling Saenuri Party, vowed to repeal the elite investigation unit and to introduce a type of grand jury system.

“As part of efforts to reduce and control the prosecution’s power, I will abolish the controversial unit and have a separate investigative team of each local prosecution office play that role,” she said.

Park, a five-term lawmaker and eldest daughter of the late President Park Chung Hee, also pledged to “allow a citizens’ committee on prosecution to deliberate on the indictment of major cases, modeled after the grand jury system abroad.”

“I will give the prosecution’s authority back to the people, where it is derived from,” Park said. “I will not tolerate the prosecution’s attempt to turn on or cater to the political circle for any reason.”

Liberal candidate Moon Jae-in also vowed to “rein in the prosecution from wielding absolute power” by changing authority to appoint the top post of the prosecution from the president to the public.

“I will set up an independent committee in charge of recommending candidates for the prosecutor general, with more than half of its members from civil society,” said Moon of the Democratic United Party.

Pointing to the fact that all prosecutor generals, except one, have so far been chosen from among prosecutors, he vowed to open the position to outside figures and to cut the number of vice-minister-level positions within the prosecution by half.

While disbanding the investigation unit, Moon said he will set up “a new task force responsible for high-profile corruption cases among lawmakers, high-ranking officials and their relatives.”

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