Sun, Jun 20, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Justice minister addresses overseas Chinese in Dallas

ALL THE ANSWERS Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan, who attended a conference in the US, fielded questions about the election eve shooting incident on March 19

CNA , DALLAS

Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) told overseas Chinese in Dallas on Friday night that several government agencies are conducting investigations into the March 19 shooting of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

Chen Ding-nan was responding to questions as to why a committee was not organized to look into the shooting, which left both the president and the vice president slightly injured.

Taiwan police have yet to take any suspects into custody and have few clues.

He pointed out that the Control Yuan, the nation's highest watchdog body, and the Criminal Investigation Bureau have conducted investigations into the shooting, and although their names may be different, they are doing exactly the same thing.

Chen Ding-nan arrived in Dallas on Friday afternoon to begin a "journey of gratitude" after attending the 2004 summer conference of the US National Association of Attorneys General, which opened last Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Chen Ding-nan said that he was in the US in 2000 to drum up support for President Chen Shui-bian during his presidential election campaign. This trip is to thank supporters, albeit belatedly, of the president and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

More than 100 overseas Chinese attended Minister Chen's speech although there were also around 60 who unfurled banners outside to protest against him, questioning why an investigation committee on the shooting has not been formed and why there has been no movement on investigating first lady Wu Shu-chen's (吳淑珍) alleged insider trading in the stock market.

In his speech, Minister Chen said that supporters of the pan-blue alliance of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) have demanded that the Legislative Yuan form an investigation committee; however, such a committee would be unconstitutional.

He noted that the US Congress has the right to conduct investigations, but there are no such rights in Taiwan's Legislative Yuan because the ROC Constitution gives this power to the Control Yuan, which has begun investigations on possible lapses on the part of civil servants, and part of the investigation report will be released soon.

The Criminal Investigation Bureau is also working on the case and as no suspects have been arrested yet, it is still too early to talk about criminal responsibility.

Chen said that if the Legislative Yuan were to investigate possible political and administrative lapses by civil servants, it would encroach on the Control Yuan's power and if it were to look into possible criminal activities, that would infringe the judicial rights of those legally responsible for criminal investigations.

President Chen won the March 20 presidential election by a narrow margin of 29,518 votes out of more than 13 million cast.

Minister Chen's schedule for the "journey of gratitude" is tight. He will fly to Houston from Dallas and then proceed to New York, Boston, Chicago and Honolulu before returning to Taiwan on June 30.

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