Thu, Dec 16, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Statute ruled unconstitutional

NOT LEGAL The Council of Grand Justices yesterday ruled that part of the March 19 Shooting Investigation Special Committee Statute did not adhere to the Constitution

By Ko Shu-ling and Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Executive Yuan yesterday called on the legislature to immediately amend the March 19 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee Statute (三一九槍擊事事件真相調查委員會條例) and for the committee to stop its operations without delay.

"We are grateful for the constitutional interpretation delivered by the Council of Grand Justices, who ruled that core articles of the statute violated the Constitution and encroaches on basic human rights," Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a press conference held yesterday after the grand judges ruled that some of the legislation's clauses were unconstitutional and that they should instantaneously be scrapped.

Chen also called on the legislature to immediately review the statute and on all political parties to safeguard constitutional order.

Not Afraid

"We're as eager as everybody else to find out the truth behind the March 19 shooting incident and we're not afraid of being summoned for investigation," he said.

"However, any investigation has to be conducted constitutionally and legitimately," he said.

In addition to calling on opposition parties to jointly create an environment for political reconciliation, Chen urged the legislature to take heed of future legislation in order to avoid making the same mistake again.

Describing the statute as a "constitutional fiend," Minister without Portfolio Hsu Chi-hsiung (許志雄) said that the illegal and unconstitutional committee should immediately stop operating, because the committee members were not endorsed by the legislature nor appointed by the legislative speaker.

Little Is Legal

He said that although the grand judges did not rule the entire legislation unconstitutional, they ruled that little of the committee was in fact legal.

Chen called on the committee to immediately stop operations and let the judicial system take over the case.

The Presidential Office yesterday said it respected the Grand Justices' interpretation.

Meanwhile, the party caucuses had mixed opinions on the Grand Justices' constitutional interpretation.

The pan-green camp voiced its approval, while the pan-blue camp questioned the Grand Justices' credibility and impartiality. A battle on the interpretation, the statute and the amendment can be expected, judging by the non-reconciliatory tones of the caucuses yesterday.

"We are glad about the interpretation. We can see from the outcome that the core articles in the Statute have been declared unconstitutional and that the committee should become ineffective," Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.

"We are demanding that the committee cease its operations, and the legislature to amend the statute immediately," Ker said.

Another DPP caucus whip, Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅), further demanded that the committee disperse its members immediately and return all documents it had acquired from other government agencies.

Demand

"We also demand the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) apologize to the public for problems caused by the committee," Lee said.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus held a similar opinion.

"We approve of the interpretation, but we also think that there is a greater part of the statute that is illegal than the part accounted for by the Grand Justices," TSU caucus whip Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) said.

Expressing his disappointment with the grand justices' ruling, KMT spokesman Chang Jng-kung (張榮恭) said the party "cannot accept the interpretation," which downgraded the committee to one under the supervision of the Legislative Yuan.

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