Seoul, December 10 On the 10th, the National Assembly of South Korea passed the Amendment to the Law on the Crime Investigation Service of Senior Public Officials, which will establish a new agency independent of the prosecution to investigate corruption of senior officials.
Over the years, South Korean prosecutors have repeatedly criticized it for “excessive power”. According to Korean law, the procuratorate is subordinate to the Ministry of Justice, but in practice, it has absolute independence, monopoly of investigation power, public prosecution power, etc.; the police must also pass the prosecution’s review.
Since Moon Jae-in’s government came to power, it has advocated promoting procuratorial reform. The establishment of the Crime Investigation Office of Senior Public Officials (hereinafter referred to as the Public Investigation Office) independent of the prosecution is one of the cores of the reform. At the end of last year, the National Assembly of Korea passed the Law on the Crime Investigation Service of Senior Public Officials, which was amended this year.
On the afternoon of the 10th, the National Assembly passed the Amendments to the Law on the Crime Investigation Service of Senior Public Officials, which adjusted the seniority and term of office of prosecutors of the Public Prosecution Service. This means that the Public Transfer Office will enter the actual start-up phase.
The investigation objects of the Public Investigation Office include the President, the Parliamentarian, the President of the Grand Court, the Prime Minister and other senior public officials; for the Police, prosecutors, judges, etc., the Public Investigation Office can directly prosecute. The bill stipulates that the President and the Qingwatai of the Presidential Palace cannot interfere with the work of the Public Recondation Office.
According to Qingwatai, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on the afternoon of the 10th that the establishment of the Public Recondation Office had been postponed indefinitely and was very regretted. He said that the establishment of the Public Inquisation Office was “although it was a little late, but now it is quite touching to fulfill its promise”.
Moon Jae-in said that the significance of establishing a public reconciliation office is to form checks and balances between authorities and ensure judicial justice. He said he hoped that the remaining procedures would proceed smoothly and aim to formally establish the Public Recondation Office in 2021.
The establishment of the Public Regument Office has caused public opinion controversy. The Korean Prosecutor’s Office has publicly expressed its opposition. The opposition party criticized the ruling party as a “legislative rampage” and questioned that the public opinion office could not remain neutral and could only play the role of the subordinate institutions of Qingwatai.