Kim Oh-soo nominated as prosecutor general
Justice Minister Park Beom-kye recommended Kim, a long-time prosecutor, for the position of Prosecutor General after Yoon Seok-youl quit the post in March.
The president accepted the recommendation, according to Blue House spokesperson Park Kyung-mee.
Kim served as vice justice minister for two years from 2018 under former Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae, who resigned after a protracted power struggle with Yoon over the powers of the state prosecution service and particularly its ability to both conduct far-reaching investigations and indict suspects.
Before moving to the Justice Ministry, Kim served as head of the Seoul Northern District Prosecutors Office and the Institute of Justice.
At a press briefing announcing Kim’s nomination, Justice Minister Park said, “The nominee is expected to fulfill his duty so that, in addition to stabilizing the state prosecution service, it can be reborn as an organization desired by the people.”
In his own statement after the nomination became public, Kim said, “I feel a sense of heavy responsibility” being nominated to the post at a “hard and difficult time.”
In order to be confirmed, Kim must go through a nonbinding confirmation hearing at the National Assembly, the date for which is yet to be announced.
Kim said he would prepare for his confirmation hearing in a “humble” manner.
The prosecution service has been the center of a series of public controversies since the Moon administration came to power.
A key campaign promise by Moon was reform of the state prosecution service, which the ruling Democratic Party (DP) views as wielding too much power and guilty of politically motivated investigations in the past.
The state prosecution service conducted several investigations into high-profile figures in the Moon administration.
The most prominent was former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, who was accused along with his wife of using his political influence before he was appointed minister to secure fraudulent academic credentials for his daughter.
Prosecutors investigated the fact that Cho’s daughter was named a co-author of an advanced scientific research paper when she just was a high school student, an accomplishment she used to burnish her successful application to Korea University and later medical school.
The investigation and resulting resignation of Cho led to heightened calls from the ruling DP to rein in prosecutors.
Tensions between Yoon and Cho’s successor, Choo, came to a boiling point when Choo attempted to have Yoon suspended over accusations he prevented investigations into his own family and close associates.
Although Choo eventually resigned following the protracted feud, Yoon also quit in early March to protest a proposal by ruling DP lawmakers to create a new investigative agency under the Justice Ministry which would specialize in probing serious crimes, effectively depriving prosecutors of their remaining investigative powers.
BY MICHAEL LEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]