Ministry announces its reshuffle of prosecution

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Ministry announces its reshuffle of prosecution


Kim Su-nam and Cho Hee-jin

The Ministry of Justice announced late Thursday a reshuffle in the prosecution’s leadership, promoting a veteran prosecutor who led the recent anti-state crime investigation by a lawmaker to head the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.

According to the ministry, 45 senior prosecutors were promoted or reassigned to top positions in the prosecution. The reshuffle will officially take effect on Tuesday.

Kim Su-nam, head of the Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office, was tapped to head the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office. After the central investigation unit was shut down, it effectively became the second-most powerful position in the prosecution after Prosecutor-General Kim Jin-tae.

Kim, 54, headed the Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office this year and oversaw its investigation into Representative Lee Seok-ki of the Unified Progressive Party. Lee was indicted on charges of conspiring to overthrow the government in favor of North Korea.

A Daegu native, Kim passed the bar exam in 1984 and started his career as a judge at the Daegu District Court. Three years later, he became a prosecutor and served in various key positions.

Kim Hyun-woong, head of the Busan High Prosecutors’ Office, was named as vice justice minister. Kook Min-ju, the current vice minister, was chosen to head the Seoul High Prosecutors’ Office. Kang Chan-woo, who headed the legal affairs bureau of the Ministry of Justice, was appointed to head the anti-corruption department at the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office, and Oh Se-in, Kang’s successor, was reassigned to head the public security department.

In the reshuffle, Cho Hee-jin, 51, became the first woman to hold a director-level position in the prosecution in its entire 65 years. The elite prosecutor, who has set several precedents in the male-dominant prosecution, was promoted to become the deputy head of the Seoul High Prosecutors’ Office.

According to the ministry, 487 out of 1,926 prosecutors were women as of June 2013. Among them, 18 were serving in senior positions heading departments or branch offices.

The ministry said two director-level positions in the prosecution were scrapped in the reshuffle. Currently there are 46 director-level positions.

Jung Byung-doo, head of the Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office, was appointed as a researcher at the Legal Research and Training Institute, the ministry said, taking into account that he would likely be a candidate for Supreme Court justice, earmarked for the prosecution. That appointment is scheduled to be made next year.

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