Judicial Yuan President Lai In-jaw (賴英照) was under fire yesterday amid growing calls for his resignation in the wake of bribery charges against senior judges and a prosecutor.
Earlier this week Lai said he was “enraged” by the case and promised to improve judicial discipline within two months.
The Judicial Reform Foundation yesterday said this was an empty promise as it called for Lai to step down immediately.
“I can’t believe that one of the detained judges is a member of the Judicial Yuan’s ‘disciplinary committee’ and ‘personnel affairs evaluation board.’ How can a person like this evaluate his coworkers?” Judicial Reform Foundation secretary-general Lin Feng-jeng (林峰正) said at a press conference.
Lin was referring to Taiwan High Court Judge Chen Jung-ho (陳榮和), who was detained on Wednesday along with High Court judges Lee Chun-ti (李春地) and Tsai Kuang-chih (蔡光治) and Banciao Prosecutor Chiu Mao-jung (邱茂榮) for allegedly accepting bribes from former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Miaoli County commissioner Ho Chih-hui (何智輝) in exchange for a not guilty verdict in a property case.
The foundation said Lai should establish an evaluation system — administered by a neutral party, not the Judicial Yuan — for judges to weed out the unqualified ones.
Huang Lin-lun (黃麟倫), deputy director of the Judicial Yuan’s Administration Department, attended the press conference, but dismissed criticism that the Judicial Yuan has been lax in pushing for judicial reform.
The Judicial Yuan has been studying the possibility of an independent review system for judges, Huang said.
When asked at a separate setting if Lai should resign, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said he could not comment because the corruption allegations against the judges and prosecutor are still being investigated.
However, he vowed to crack down on corruption, broaching the idea of making the UN Convention Against Corruption into law. He said he had already asked the Ministry of Justice to look into the matter.
It was deeply distressing to find out four judges allegedly took bribes, but feeling distressed was not enough, Ma said. Concrete steps had to be taken, he said.
He said it was important to put into practice the proposals made during a judicial reform forum 11 years ago, including enacting a law on judges. Such legislation was important because prosecutors and judges would be evaluated and they could be fired if they did not meet the necessary standards, he said.
“I always believe before you demand that somebody do something right, you must set a good example and never be afraid of disclosing family scandals,” he said. “Once government corruption is uncovered, we must take the initiative to investigate, deal with it in a lucid and speedy manner, cooperate with the investigation and explain to the public.”
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