No Aug. 15 pardons this year: Blue House sources

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No Aug. 15 pardons this year: Blue House sources

President Park Geun-hye is giving a pass to the tradition of granting special pardons on Liberation Day, which falls on Thursday, according to multiple Blue House sources.

“[The presidential office] currently has no plan to issue pardons,” said an anonymous presidential official.

Given the complicated process inherent in special pardons, some kind of review session would have been held already if Park’s administration was going to announce some, according to another official.

“Special pardons require quite a bit of scrutiny and reviews,” the source said. “If the government has plans to grant pardons, some type of measures would have been carried out. But I’ve heard of no such measures underway.”

Under the constitution and the law pertaining to grants of clemency, the exercise of the right to overturn individual sentences on special occasions require approvals from a pardon review committee of the Ministry of Justice and a cabinet meeting presided over by the prime minister.

Park pledged to be more cautious about pardons, especially for business tycoons, as part of her presidential campaign.

As president-elect in January, Park expressed concerns about predecessor Lee Myung-bak’s pardoning of some 50 convicts, many jailed for corruption, to mark Lunar New Year’s Day.

Park recently emphasized the importance of fairness in the justice system regardless of people’s social or economic status.

At the time, Park’s spokeswoman Cho Yoon-sun said the president sees pardons as an abuse of presidential power and a going against of the will of the people. Former President Lee, a former chairman of Hyundai Construction, gave pardons seven times during his term and was criticized for applying different standards to influential businessmen convicted of corporate crimes compared to ordinary citizens.

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