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Justice Ministry ban mulled for prosecutors

June 8, 2011 - 19:05 By 배현정
Amid debate over recent demands to close down the prosecution’s core investigation unit, the parliamentary subcommittee on judicial reform is considering banning prosecutors from working in the Justice Ministry.

The committee met on Wednesday to discuss the possible revision of the current prosecutor’s office law, officials said.

The bill would forbid prosecutors from working in the ministry and establish a civic committee to supervise the prosecution.

A similar plan was suggested in 2003 in an attempt to break the prosecution’s power monopoly within judicial circles but foundered due backlash from prosecutors.

The committee is also discussing the elimination of a clause in the criminal procedure law revision bill alleged to grant excessive authority to prosecutorial officials.

The parliamentary committee recently agreed to abolish the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office’s Central Investigation Department, citing the unit’s vulnerability to political pressure.

The core team has led most of the highest-profile cases since its inception in 1981.

Prosecution officials rejected the notion that the unit could not be substituted by another and that its abolition would cripple the investigative functions of the office.

Cheong Wa Dae backed the prosecution by saying that the issue requires caution and should be decided on a political level.

“The prosecution should not overact to the committee’s judicial reform plans,” said Rep. Hong Joon-puo of the ruling Grand National Party, who is also a former prosecutor, in a radio program on Wednesday.

Hong agreed that the unit should be abolished but also said that it was not the legislative right of the parliament to do so.

A group of first-term GNP lawmakers, however, issued a statement against the closure plan.

“Though the department’s political status is still controversial, this is not the right time to discuss its abolishment, as the Busan Savings Bank investigation is yet under way,” said Rep. Hur Won-je.

The judicial reform committee is expected to hold further meetings within the week to confirm its decision on the prosecutor’s office law revision.

By Bae Hyun-jung (