Mon, Jul 05, 2004 - Page 1 News List

President wants committee to monitor shooting probe

ONE MORE GROUP Vice President Annette Lu is among those who have been pushing for yet another group to oversee the assassination inquiry

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is thinking about establishing a special committee to monitor the inquiry into the March 19 assassination attempt, Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General James Huang (黃志芳) said yesterday.

"The president's resolve remains unchanged, he cannot violate the Constitution by interfering in the operations of the government's investigative task force, which is organized by members of the judiciary and the police," Huang said.

"However, to meet public expectations of learning the truth, the president has accepted the suggestion that a number of prominent people join a non-official committee to monitor the government task force" he said.

"The president wants to set up an impartial, neutral investigative committee like the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination of US president John F. Kennedy," he said. "The commission's chairman, however, was the US vice president, and the Presidential Office feels that Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) should not chair the committee since she herself was a victim of the shooting."

Huang said Lu recommended Control Yuan President Fredrick Chien (錢復) chair the committee, adding that the Presidential Office hoped that it would be chaired by an impartial and objective person approved by the opposition parties.

"We hope that the committee can be set up before August's extraordinary session of the Legislative Yuan," he said.

Huang said that the assassination inquiry had always been more than a pure question of getting to the truth. He said that for the opposition, it had become a political tool in the battle for the legislative elections in December.

"Lu worries that the investigating agency will not succeed in meeting the public's expectations, which will damage the president's prestige and, in turn, place Democratic Progressive Party legislators in a weak position. There are many senior party members who feel the same way," a presidential aide said.

Last month Lu called a meeting of the Presidential Office's Human Rights Advisory Committee, during which she expressed her concern about the lack of progress.

According to a rights committee member, Lu stressed that matters must never be prejudged, even though Lu on another occasion said that she, and not Chen, was the primary target of the shooting.

"You cannot exclude anybody, red [China], blue or green," she said.

She later told reporters, "This big case, after all, has only been handled by Tainan City investigators. That's really too low a level. There are many relevant facts that these investigators simply haven't investigated."

"The special investigative task force has made no breakthroughs to date. It should be handed over to somebody else and led by somebody else," she said.

She stressed that she was motivated by the fact that the public's faith in Chen would be hurt if there was no breakthrough.

The rights committee meet again last Thursday and Lee urged a new group to probe the shooting be set up on the basis of "the Constitution, the law, the circumstances and sheer appropriateness."

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Lien Chan unhappy about probe into attack on president

Editorial:The whole truth, and nothing less

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