Fri, Dec 17, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Cross-party talks to follow over stalled 319 statute

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The ruling and opposition caucuses in the Legislative Yuan will today hold negotiations in light of the ruling by the Council of Grand Justices to curtail the powers of the committee investigating the shooting of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

On Wednesday, the nation's highest court struck down as unconstitutional parts of the statute which formed the March 19 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee.

Revoking an article which stated that the committee did not fall under the jurisdiction of government organs and could not be supervised by them, the grand justices ruled that the committee should be made into a special committee under the Legislative Yuan.

The grand justices also ruled that the committee could investigative issues as it saw fit.

But it also said that it would not be allowed the same powers as civilian and military prosecutors.

Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday said that he respected the ruling.

While welcoming the ruling that the legislature had the right to form a committee to investigate the shooting, Wang said he would have to convene a meeting between all parties to discuss the parts of the statute that had been struck down.

He also said that new committee members would have to be determined by a consultative process, and that the names would be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for approval.

The term for members of the current committee will expire on Jan. 31, the end of the current legislative term. New members will be decided by the incoming legislature, which will be sworn in on Feb. 1.

Pleased by the ruling, which invalidated some key sections of the statute, DPP caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said the present committee should suspend operations immediately.

Responding to a call by the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) for a revision of the statute, Tsai said there would not be enough time before the end of the session.

He urged the KMT and the PFP to support the DPP's version of the statute, which would conduct the investigation in a legal and constitutional manner.

Dissatisfied with the interpretation of the grand justices, PFP caucus whip Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) yesterday said the PFP would not rule out a "radical approach," and called for an indefinite recess for the legislature.

But the KMT caucus yesterday said it was opposed to the use of radical methods in dealing with the issue.

"The fifth legislature has no right to make decisions for the legislators of the sixth legislature," said KMT caucus whip Huang Teh-fu (黃德福), adding that the KMT caucus would soon submit a revision of the statute.

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