Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) initially said he would wait for the Supreme Court’s decision before announcing how the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau would proceed in these cases.
However, in an unexpected development — and in the apparent absence of consensus on the issue between the Supreme Court judges — Huang announced that the bureau would have to continue investigating “corruption” by professors.
The problem is that the interpretation was just the result of a debate between the two sides, albeit following an exhaustive review of the situation.
Since it was not formalized in writing it cannot replace the earlier interpretation, for all its flaws.
This is especially frustrating because a Supreme Court spokesperson has confirmed that this interpretation constrained only the lower courts and did not represent a consensus in the Supreme Court, which makes one wonder why there should be a Supreme Court at all.
This piece of legislation will likely have many serious repercussions, the most grievous of all being the damage done to the public’s sense of justice served.
It seems that people are no longer equal in the eyes of the law: All one need do is get one’s foot in the door of the social elite and one can commit crimes with impunity and have tailor-made legislation passed at will to get oneself out of trouble.
Is a law in which one can be absolved from the responsibility of observing it worthy of being called a law?
Hsu Tze-tien is an associate professor of law at National Cheng Kung University.
Translated by Paul Cooper