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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Sept. 14)

2017/09/14 07:16

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Prosecutors vs. judges

The court and the prosecution are the bastions of social justice as the pillars of the state's legal system.

The two crucial institutions are on a head-on collision, blaming each other over judges' repeated rejections of arrest warrants requested by prosecutors.

The prosecution is primarily responsible for the latest conflict. The Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office openly criticized the court in a recent statement after judges denied warrants to detain suspects allegedly involved in the illegal cyber operations of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and irregularities at Korea Aerospace Industries.

The cases are part of the so-called deep-rooted evils that the Moon Jae-in administration has been eager to eradicate.

The prosecutors argue the judges' decisions make it difficult for them to fulfill their mission. The prosecutors also complained the latest decisions are inconsistent with the precedents following a change in the judges in charge of reviewing whether to accept or reject arrest warrant requests.

A court personnel reshuffle in February brought in new judges to examine the requests at the Seoul Central District Court. Since then, the prosecutors' requests for arrests warrants for key suspects implicated in former President Park Geun-hye's corruption scandal, including Chung Yoo-ra, daughter of Choi Soon-sil, have been denied, twice.

However, it is inappropriate for the prosecution to complain about the court's decisions to deny arrest warrants, which are based on its judgment that there are no concerns about destruction of evidence or the suspects fleeing during the investigation process. The people will not sympathize with the prosecution's disregard of the court's authority which is guaranteed by the Constitution.

The court and the prosecution can have different interpretations in specific cases, but they should resolve their differences through communication to prevent a public feud. The people will lose trust in the nation's legal system if they continue to collide.

(END)

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