Fri, Dec 31, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Blue camp to appeal `illegal' verdict

SENSE OF INJUSTICE The KMT and People First Party directed savage criticism at the Taiwan High Court's judges, accusing them of pandering to the government

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan Solidarity Union deputy caucus whip Chen Chien-ming calls on leaders of the pan-blue camp and their supporters to recognize yesterday's Taiwan High Court decision at a press conference at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

The Taiwan High Court yesterday dismissed the second of two pan-blue-camp lawsuits challenging the legitimacy of March's presidential election, but the pan-blue camp declared it would appeal the court's "illegal" and "unjust" verdict.

The joint plaintiffs, the People First Party (PFP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), accused the court of succumbing to political pressure from the government.

"This verdict is a tragedy for the Taiwanese people over the state of the nation's democracy. We express our disappointment, regret, anger and sense of injustice at the high court's decision. We will appeal this unfair decision all the way to the top," KMT Secretary-General Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正) said during a joint KMT-PFP press conference last night.

The Taiwan High Court announced at 4:30pm that it had rejected the pan-blue camp's second lawsuit, which was filed against the Central Election Commission for holding the March 20 presidential elections as scheduled despite "irregularities" before election day, including the election-eve shooting of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮).

The pan-blue camp would not accept the ruling because the judges "expressed clear bias" throughout the proceedings, the joint KMT-PFP legal team said yesterday.

In dismissing the pan-blue camp's evidence as "insufficient," the high court was clearly biased towards maintaining the "current situation," lawyer Lee Chung-teh (李宗德) said yesterday, adding that the court "deliberately ignored and dismissed large portions of pan-blue camp evidence."

PFP Deputy Secretary-General Chin Chin-sheng (秦金生) said the court's leanings toward the administration was reflected in the decision not being released until yesterday, which he said was illegal.

The pan-blue camp filed its lawsuit on April 5, Chin said, and as Article 111 of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Law (總統副總統選舉罷免法) calls for all election or election-recall lawsuits to be settled within six months of being filed, the court should have already handed down its verdict.

Chin also said that since the lawsuit had been filed for the benefit of the people, the courts should have treated the case as an administrative legal appeal, which would have given the courts greater investigative jurisdiction.

Chin and Lin yesterday cited the Ukrainian opposition's success in overturning the results of that country's presidential election.

"A fair judiciary is the last line of defense for a nation's democracy. It is incredible to think that a new democracy such as Ukraine has a fair justice system and that Taiwan, a model of democracy in Asia, does not," Chin said.

Because the high court rejected the pan-blue camp's first lawsuit, the mood among supporters yesterday prior to the verdict was not optimistic. Earlier yesterday, party spokesman Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) said at KMT headquarters in Taipei that he hoped the high court would be able to resist "political pressure" and issue the verdict as "prescribed by the law."

The KMT legislative caucus added yesterday that it would accept the results if the court gave the blue camp a fair verdict. Despite this, posters anticipating an unfavorable result were already hanging in the media room at KMT headquarters before the verdict was announced.

"We believe justice will come sooner or later," one read. Another said, "We do not believe the way of justice will always be dark."

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