Professor Cho Kuk has been selected to be the Justice Minister, and is viewed as the right person to take on prosecution reform. We found out why he is heading prosecution reform, what power the nation's prosecutors have, and why the appointment of Professor Cho Kuk has come to pass.
First of all, compared with other countries, Korea’s prosecutors can exercise a number of powers, including the exclusive right to indict, the right to terminate investigations, the right to revoke a complaint, and the right to approve an emergency arrest.
The prosecution's key power is the prosecution's exclusive right to indict. Prosecution means putting a criminal on trial. Prosecution monopolism is when only the prosecution can bring criminals to justice. The true power that comes from the right to indict doesn’t come from charging criminals, but from bringing them to justice. It is the prosecution monopoly that makes it impossible for anyone else to indict, even if there is a greater offence. This authority is reserved only by the prosecution.
When a complaint occurs, ordinary people undergo the process of investigating and ruling first through the police, then prosecution and court. However, a trial will not take place if the prosecution does not approve the charges. There are various reasons why this could happen, including no charges or a suspension of indictment, but even if the investigation is carried out due to guilt, it cannot be subject to the law if the prosecution does not indict the criminal. This is why judicial reform is concentrated on the prosecution, and not on the court.
In addition to the exclusive right to indict, the prosecution has the right to investigate. The right to investigate means the right to find out if there are any criminal facts. In an investigation, prosecutors can look into all kinds of information, including personal information. In addition to prosecuting or investigating a criminal, there is also a cognitive investigation. This means that the prosecution is investigating the crime directly based on suspicion, without a filed complaint.
Judicial reforms that Professor Cho Kuk claims can be divided into two main categories. There is the establishment of an investigation agency to look into the corruption of high-ranking public officials, and the coordination of investigative rights between the prosecution and the police. With the establishment of a high-profile corruption investigation agency, the prosecution's exclusive right to indict will be revoked. The adjustment of investigative rights involves adjusting the primary command and closing rights of police investigations currently held by the prosecution. Until now, the police have conducted investigations under the direction of prosecutors. Also, the authority to close the case would be handed over to the police. If investigative rights are transferred to the police, it would be difficult to conduct a problematic cognitive investigation which is prosecution’s corruption.
The senior-culture appears strongly in the prosecution. It is possible to deny a crime, to increase a sentence of innocence, or deliver substantial punishment in court. When an organization has such absolute control over a system, the organization can manipulate the system to its own benefit. As long as you are loyal to the organization, a comfortable future is guaranteed. For this reason, a strong jockey culture is bound to be formed. If a high-profile corruption investigation agency is established, and the prosecution's exclusive right to indict is revoked, the organization will no longer be able to maintain its framework.
Even those who are guilty can be reduced to punishment by the prosecution, and have the prosecution take an account of their crimes. In addition, even with innocent people, prosecutors may try to fabricate evidence to prosecute. In other words, it is a world of people in power. Reform of the prosecution and judicial system will be necessary to prevent such crimes, as corrupt prosecutors and judges jeopardize the foundation of our democracy. The public will have to keep an eye on this situation. Only the people have the power to implement this reform.
By Kang Hwa-jeong, cub reporte firstname.lastname@example.org
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