Shame on the DPHwang Hee-seok, a former human rights commissioner at the Ministry of Justice, has disclosed names of prosecutors who had been involved in what he calls a “coup” to oust former Justice Minister Cho Kuk. Hwang is running for proportional seats in the National Assembly as a member of the Open Democrats, a satellite party of the ruling Democratic Party (DP). Hwang, a former civil rights lawyer, was named by Cho to spearhead prosecutorial reforms during Cho’s short-lived stint as justice minister.
The list included Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, Han Dong-hoon, head of the Busan District Prosecutors’ Office, and Park Chan-hoo, head of the Jeju District Prosecutors’ Office. Hwang claimed that Cho was framed by the special investigation team under Prosecutor General Yoon. Hwang vowed to see through prosecutorial reforms by running for a legislative seat.
Such a shocking revelation by a figure — who was directly involved in prosecutorial reforms until he resigned from office in January — cannot be excused. The liberal camp accused the conservative Park Geun-hye administration of abusing its judiciary power by blacklisting a number of judges not friendly to the conservative government.
Hwang’s actions may be unlawful. Until recently, he served as a senior government official. He could have been behind the string of demotions of prosecutors close to Yoon. Hwang stepped down shortly before the demotions were announced by the ministry. But he may have wielded some influence in their demotion.
The roster of candidates in the Open Democrats — created by figures loyal to President Moon Jae-in and Cho — even worries the ruling party. Former presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom vowed not to run in the election after he was accused of real estate speculation while working at the Blue House.
Chung Bong-ju, who founded the satellite party, was disqualified by the DP because he was implicated in sexual harassment allegations. Choe Kang-wook, a former Blue House secretary, was indicted by the prosecution for faking an internship certificate for Cho’s son. DP Secretary General Yoon Ho-joong expressed “regrets” to see those names who had pledged not to run in the elections or were found unqualified by the ruling party to run for a seat with constituency in the April 15 elections.
The party, comprised of advocates of Cho, is calling for reforms. We only hope voters won’t be fooled by their deceitful claims.