Mon, Jun 06, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Why is no one held to account?

By Lin Feng-jeng 林峰正

The “confession” was obviously inconsistent with the facts and Article 125 of the Criminal Code states that those causing someone known to be innocent to be charged and given the death sentence should be given a prison sentence of seven years or more. This constitutes a felony for which the statute of limitation is at least 20 years.

Therefore, these military officers can still be charged, so one wonders why the prosecutors cannot charge them.

Furthermore, Chen and the other military officers involved in the Chiang case were not military prosecutors or judges and so it was not part of their official duties to prosecute or punish criminals. That means that they are not subject to the regulations regarding abuse of power prescribed in the Criminal Code.

However, according to Article 31 of the code, if someone lacking the appropriate status and someone with the appropriate status jointly commit a crime, the person without the appropriate status should still be considered an accomplice and convicted for abuse of power.

The best example of such a case is one involving former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), who was prosecuted as an accomplice in the corruption case against her husband, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

So why should a case that is also being handled by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Panel (SIP) be handled according to a different set of standards? The task force set up to re-investigate the Chiang case is a complete joke as it is only trying to prevent certain officials from being held to account.

The latest investigation by prosecutors may have helped prove Chiang’s innocence, but as far as holding those responsible to account goes, we have merely seen how good the SIP is at covering up for officials.

Ma’s visit to the Chiang family on Feb 1 seemed to show that he wanted to become involved in this case, but at this crucial juncture he has pulled his head in again and is ignoring the issue. It is deeply worrying that it will prove impossible to bring an end to the use of torture and that all Ma’s talk about the government carefully reflecting on its past mistakes is nothing more than a bunch of lies.

Can Ma seriously “respect” the way the military judiciary is helping officials shirk responsibility?

Lin Feng-jeng is a lawyer and executive director of the Judicial Reform Foundation.


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