LKP resists new tribunal to try Yang Sung-tae

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LKP resists new tribunal to try Yang Sung-tae

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) on Friday stepped up its attack on the ruling party’s bid to establish a special panel of judges to try a judicial power abuse scandal.

Four parties, including the ruling Democratic Party (DP), announced Thursday that they will seek a motion to set up the tribunal during the ongoing regular parliamentary session over an allegation that ex-Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae used trials in its dealing with the presidential office.

Yang is alleged to have sought to use politically sensitive trials in persuading senior presidential aides to conservative President Park Geun-hye to support Yang’s bid to establish a court of appeals.

The conservative LKP, which Park used to be affiliated with, did not join the drive for the panel, saying that the move could hamper the independence of the judicial branch.

Kim Sung-tae, the LKP’s floor leader, said that the DP is sparking a controversy over whether the panel’s creation is unconstitutional at a time when a row over President Moon Jae-in’s ratification of inter-Korean summit deals without parliamentary consent has yet to be settled.

“The creation of a special panel itself is a political activity,” Kim said, calling the four parties’ announcement a “political show.”

He also ruled out a possibility that his party may seek to bargain its push for a parliamentary probe into alleged nepotism at public firms with the panel establishment.

Conservative parties are calling for the investigation into an allegation that Seoul Metro, the Seoul subway operator, gave job favors to its existing and former employees in what the LKP said was the “hereditary succession of jobs.”

The ruling DP and three parties stressed the need to set up the special court to handle the judicial scandal fairly.

Prosecutors said that a local court has rejected arrest warrants for those responsible for the scandal without proper reasons in what might be aimed at protecting the judicial branch which is under public fire for Yang’s case.

The LKP claimed that parties’ drive indicates their distrust of incumbent Supreme Court Chief Justice Kim Myeong-su and courts.

“Making Kim step down would be a choice to minimize the controversy, rather than pushing for the judge panel,” said Rep. Yun Jae-ok of the LKP.

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