Prosecution must clear suspicions

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Prosecution must clear suspicions

The prosecution’s investigation into the suspicious disappearance of the transcript of the secret conversation between President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in a 2007 summit has entered a new phase, as prosecutors have obtained a search and seizure warrant from the court to browse all the presidential records kept in the National Archives. In the summit, President Roh allegedly disavowed the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border in the Yellow Sea. The prosecution must put an end to all the political fighting over the missing transcript.

The Seoul High Court issued the warrant because “the records can serve as significant evidence in telling who’s responsible for the disappearance of the sensitive transcript.” Prosecutors plan to visit the National Archives to investigate beginning Friday at the earliest. Despite the full-fledged probe into the mysterious disappearance of the records, however, investigations of more than 30 aides from the Roh administration and opposition Democratic Party, who were involved in producing the transcript and transferring the records to the archives, have not yet started, after those aides refused the prosecution’s summons. The DP still believes the case must be resolved by a special prosecution team as it demands political neutrality and fairness.

The prosecution’s investigation runs the risk of political controversy as it got started by a unilateral accusation from the ruling Saenuri Party instead of an agreement between two parties. It’s also regrettable that a search for historical facts needs to be entrusted to the prosecution. It would have been much better if lawmakers from both parties were able to find the truth.

But a fact-finding probe by the prosecution is inevitable given the national intrigue over whether the transcript of the dialogue was deleted by the liberal Roh administration or by the conservative Lee Myung-bak administration, as well as if it is true that experts really cannot locate the transcripts anywhere in the archives. To prevent such a recurrence in the future, the prosecution must discover what really happened. A core group of aides directly involved in creating the transcript of the sensitive conversation should cooperate with the prosecution’s investigations.

It all comes down to the fundamentals of a state. If the prosecution approaches the investigation politically, it will further split the nation. Politicians must encourage the prosecution and monitor their investigations. The prosecution must not forget that a special prosecutor is waiting around the corner if its probe is tainted with politics.

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