Wed, Feb 28, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Amendment calling for 228 trial halted by pan-blue camp

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Amid events commemorating the 228 Incident, a bill calling for people who committed atrocities during the incident to stand trial was blocked in the legislature yesterday, provoking quarrels between pan-blue and pan-green lawmakers.

The bill was aimed at amending the Statute for Handling of and Compensation for the 228 Incident (二二八事件處理及補償條例), enacted in April 1995. The statute detailed a series of steps to help 228 victims and their families.

Dissatisfied with the statute because it focuses largely on compensation issues, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) proposed an amendment that was aimed at determining legal responsibility for the incident.

DPP lawmakers suggested yesterday that the amendment be put on the legislative agenda so that it could be passed on Friday. They were voted down, however, by pan-blue lawmakers.

The DPP amendment would replace the word "compensation" with "indemnification," and enact a special law entitling 228 Incident victims to seek indemnification from the people who injured them and demand those people face their legal responsibility.

"It's been 60 years [since the incident]. As time goes by, it gets more difficult to investigate [who bears] responsibility. The amendment is imperative, as there will be no forgiveness without truth," DPP Legislator Chen Hsien-Chung (陳憲中) said.

In October 2005 the government introduced an amendment to the law to replace "compensation" with "indemnification." That amendment has been stalled because of a pan-blue boycott.

DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) lashed out at the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday, saying that it never thought of the victims of the 228 Incident except when 228 Memorial Day approached.

"The KMT and its former chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should feel ashamed for using 228 Incident victims and their families as political tools," she said.

KMT legislative whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said his party disapproved of the new amendment, but not the 2005 one.

"We support changing `compensation' to `indemnification.' But the part about demanding legal responsibility is nothing but a political struggle. It would only cause more ethnic conflict, not bring harmony to society," Tseng said.

He said the party would work to get the long-stalled amendment passed on Friday.

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