Wed, Jun 12, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Turf battle over rights agency stirs

JURISDICTION Members of the Control Yuan say that a new human rights commission proposed by the Presidential Office intrudes on their powers

By Lin Miao-Jung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Control Yuan advisers, upset about a Presidential Office proposal to establish a national human rights commission (國家人權委員會), suggested yesterday that the agency's members fight for their jurisdiction, which they say is infringed by the plan.

Control Yuan Secretary-General Tu Shan-liang (杜善良) yesterday said yesterday in a monthly news conference that many Control Yuan members suggested that the establishment of the commission violates the agency's constitutional prerogatives.

Last month, the Presidential Office proposed a draft bill to establish the human rights commission, something the president promised to do during his presidential campaign in May 2000.

According to the draft bill, the commission will be under the complete jurisdiction of the Presidential Office. It also states that all government agencies should cooperate with the commission.

One adviser to the Control Yuan, Chou Yang-san (周陽山), a political analyst from National Taiwan University, said in the meeting that, "Establishing the national human rights commission under the Presidential Office seriously erodes the power of the Control Yuan."

He also said that the Control Yuan is the only agency entitled by the Constitution to investigate executive departments regarding their negligence of duty and to protect the human rights of the public.

He stressed that some articles of the draft bill clearly indicate that the commission will have the power to investigate human-rights related cases that should be within the purview of the Control Yuan.

Echoing Chou's point of view, Hu Fu (胡佛), a professor of constitutional law at National Taiwan University, said the government should leave human rights-related matters to the Control Yuan.

Investigate power

* The Presidential Office, in seeking to fulfill President Chen Shui-bian's campaign promise to create a human rights commission, has drafted a bill putting the new agency under its purview and awarding it the power to investigate elements of the executive branch.

* Members of the Control Yuan argue that the Constitution gives them the exclusive right to investigate executive branch misdeeds.

The draft bill has not yet been sent to the legislature for review. Tu, however, said that the Control Yuan would fight giving the commission investigative powers.

Control Yuan member Lee Shen-yi (李伸一), however, said he doesn't oppose the establishment of the commission.

But, he said, "the commission should focus on human rights protection in education and monitor and release reports about the human rights situation in Taiwan."

He said that the government must ensure that the Control Yuan's investigative powers are protected.

Control Yuan member Liao Jiann-nan (廖健男) said he doubted that the Constitution permitted such an institution.

"The draft bill creates another institution, the power of which is similar to the Control Yuan. Unless the Constitution is amended, it should not be allowed," he said.

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