Supreme Court removes judges for power abuse

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Supreme Court removes judges for power abuse

The Supreme Court has decided to temporarily remove six senior district court judges from the bench and reprimand two others over their alleged involvement in an abuse of power case involving former top court officials, it said Tuesday.

The top court’s disciplinary committee suspended Judges Lee Kyoo-jin and Lee Min-kul of the Seoul High Court from duty for six months and Judge Bang Chang-hyun of the Daejeon District Court for three months.

The decision was made Monday in the fourth session of the meeting the committee has held since July 20, the court said.

The committee failed to reach a decision in the last three sessions on the 13 judges subject to disciplinary actions.

Prosecutors have been investigating allegations that former Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae devised ways to use trials as bargaining chips to lobby the office of former President Park Geun-hye to establish a separate court of appeals.

The 13 judges had been under disciplinary review after being accused of working to help Yang interfere in the deliberation process in some highly sensitive trials whose verdicts would bring considerable political impact on the Park government.

Four other judges were slapped with salary cuts for four to five months, while another judge was given a disciplinary warning, the court said.

The committee dismissed the cases for the remaining five, citing insufficient grounds and their apparent lack of involvement.

The committee was formed at the direct request of incumbent Supreme Court Chief Justice Kim Myeong-su.

Two former Supreme Court justices have been subpoenaed for questioning by the prosecution. The former deputy head of the top court’s administrative body has been arrested and is currently on trial.

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