Wed, Aug 25, 2004 - Page 3 News List

`Truth committee' statue goes too far, DPP says

FIGHT NOT OVER The new statue spelling out the guidelines for the March 19 shooting investigation committee infringe on the Constitution, the DPP says

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Five TSU legislators urge the government to investigate unsolved major criminal cases before the vote on the establishment of a ``truth investigative commission'' yesterday. The legislature later officially passed a special statute to establish the commission to investigate the March 19 shooting of the president and vice president.

PHOTO: WANG YI-SUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday condemned the passage of the pan-blue camp's version of a statue to regulate the investigative committee on the March 19 shooting, saying the committee has seriously overridden the judicial power and infringed on the Constitution.

On the final day of the extra legislative sitting yesterday, the legislature passed the pan-blue's proposal for a special investigative committee -- which would use an independent prosecutor system -- to probe the March 19 assassination attempt on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮). The DPP's proposal to ask the Control Yuan, the government's watchdog agency to direct the committee's operations was snuffed out.

DPP officials said yesterday that the Cabinet will propose renewed discussions in a bid to reverse the legislation. If it can not be vetoed, the DPP legislative caucus will file for a constitutional interpretation of the new law. If either action fails to stop the operations of the committee, the DPP will not rule out the possibility of withdrawing from the investigation panel to oppose the pan-blue camp's committee legislation.

Presidential Office Secretary General Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday the pan-blue camp used its legislative majority to force the passage of the bill, which infringed the independence of the judicial power. The statue also has been widely criticized by private judicial-reform groups and academics, especially a clause which states that representation on the committee must reflect the number of legislators each party has in the Legislative Yuan.

"The statue is basically a product of the pan-blues' legislative violence," Su said yesterday in the party headquarters after a closed-door meeting of the Central Executive Committee.

Liang Wen-chieh (梁文傑), deputy director of DPP's Policy Research and Coordinating Committee said the pan-blue camp's statue -- which gives committee members the power to investigate, discern evidence and prosecute without the permission from the judiciary -- is unacceptable.

"It is ridiculous that committee members can use their political judgment to decide who is guilty and then mete out charges against them, totally disregarding the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法). We have seen many prosecutors voice protests on the Web site of the Ministry of Justice," Liang said.

"These prosecutors said they would refuse to cooperate if asked by the committee," he said.

The DPP yesterday also released a public opinion poll regarding the pan-blue's shooting committee. The poll found that 57 percent of the public thought the committee should be free of political interference; 15.1 percent of the interviewees supported the pan-blue's committee legislation; and 27.9 percent had no opinion on the issue.

In other developments, the CEC members also agreed yesterday on a proposal that would require a direct election by all party members in choosing a new party chairman. The proposal is a revision to a 2002 party regulation which requires the president serve concurrently as the party chairman. The revision will be submitted to the party congress for final approval on Sept. 26. The 2002 party regulation which says the party can choose up to three vice chairmen was also canceled as well.

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