Minister of Justice Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) yesterday said the ministry is mulling shifting authority for the Special Investigation Division (SID) from the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office to the Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office.
“After discussions with academics, prosecutors and judicial workers, the Ministry of Justice has concluded that the SID is still necessary, but could be demoted from the final trial-level Supreme Prosecutors’ Office to the second trial-level Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office,” Luo said in response to a question from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Liao Cheng-ching (廖正井), who had suggested completely abolishing the division.
In posing his question to the minister and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), Liao said the division had been given too much power for anyone to monitor and had become a “judicial monster” that abuses its authority.
Special prosecutors in charge of high-profile cases are called in when a task force is assembled in other countries, such as Japan, South Korea and the US, Liao said.
Liao responded to Luo’s answer by saying the division should be placed at the first-trial level, which would put it under the oversight of a district court.
Jiang said the ministry is looking for a way to rein in the division’s authority while ensuring its investigations are free from political interference.
In response to another question posed by Liao about the nomination of a new prosecutor-general, Jiang said the Presidential Office is working on finalizing a candidate to be nominated by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
The premier said there should be no problem announcing the nomination under the timetable set by law for the candidate to be approved by the legislature.
The Organic Act of Courts (法院組織法) stipulates that the president should submit a nominee for prosecutor-general to the Legislative Yuan for review at least one month before the expiration of the incumbent’s term.
Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming’s (黃世銘) term ends on April 18.
His tenure has been marred by a controversy over illegal wiretapping and an alleged attempt by Ma to remove Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) from his seat.