Wed, Jan 19, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Illegitimacy spawns ludicrous report

Last month, the Council of Grand Justices ruled that some of the powers vested in the 319 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee were unconstitutional. Undeterred, the committee released a 150-page report on Monday on the March 19 assassination attempt. Many legal experts and academics have deplored the fact that this absurd and ridiculous report has cost the legislature a great opportunity to establish a model for its use of judicial investigative powers under the Constitution.

Since the committee was established last October, judicial reform groups and academics have criticized the legislation that was forced through by pan-blue legislators, pointing out that some of the powers granted to the committee by the statute were unconstitutional. The constitutional interpretation by the Council of Grand Justices last month said that many articles relating to the structure of the committee were flawed and unconstitutional.

After the grand justices denied the legal status of the committee and the legitimacy of its operation, the committee members should have immediately sought to amend those articles with which the grand justices found fault. The committee could then have exercised the judicial investigative powers properly granted it by the legislature. It would then have been in a position to make a thorough investigation of an incident that shook the nation.

Given that the legislature is dominated by the pan-blue camp, passing such amendments would not have been difficult. But, incomprehensibly, the committee chose not to try to repair its legal standing. Instead, despite its illegitimacy, it went ahead and finished its "investigation report."

Acting in such an irresponsible and offhand manner, the committee repeatedly failed to convince anyone of its impartiality, its thoroughness or its accuracy. Doesn't this undue haste in releasing a report seem to substantiate the doubts raised when the committee was first formed that its purpose was to serve as a political bludgeon rather than to seriously investigate the shooting?

The report is absurd, ludicrous even because the committee, working under conditions in which it was unable to conduct a proper investigation, departed from the principle of letting the evidence speak for itself, and instead constructed a "reasonable explanation" of how the shooting could have been used to manipulate the election. Committee spokesman Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) admitted during a press conference that due to the lack of cooperation from government agencies, the committee was unable to conduct an investigation of key evidence, nor was it able to interview key witnesses. Yet the committee went ahead in its report and demanded the recall of the president.

Since the committee lacks legitimacy, and failed to present either adequate human or material evidence, how can it have the temerity to demand the recall of the president? Given the absurdity of this situation, not even pan-blue legislators who helped create the committee in the first place are willing to back its findings. The committee members have only managed to make fools of themselves.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the claims in the committee's report that the shooting was staged, and the "reasonable explanation" of how the incident was used to manipulate the election, are unconvincing. It is possible that the committee members simply wanted to get their task over and done with and came to their conclusions without much thought.

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