Wed, Dec 14, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Legal organizations call for prosecution reform

CHANGE NEEDED NGOs and a number of legal associations joined forces to press for urgent reform and the establishment of a more independent legal system

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Prosecutors' Reform Association held a press conference yesterday to announce the establishment of an anti-corruption alliance, and call for a more independent national prosecution system.

Chien Hsi-chieh, the executive director of the Peacetime Foundation of Taiwan, said, "An independent prosecution system is the key to fighting high-level corruption, and the first step of the reforms should be to create a more independent State Public Prosecutor-General, whose position is free from any politicil intervention."

Chien called on the nation to support an amendment of the Court Organic Law (法院組織法), which is awaiting its second reading in the legislature.

The amendment proposes to establish a State Public Prosecutor-General's nomination system, which stipulates that the president's nominee for state prosecutor-general should be approved by the legislature, and that the position have a four-year term of office, said Chien, adding that the president would not be able to recall the prosecutor-general during his or her term.

Chien said the amendment also proposes to establish a special prosecution system for probing crime by high-level officials.

Chien said the two new systems would avoid any possibility of political intervention.

"While South Korea's prosecutors have probed and indicted high-level officials and the relatives of several presidents a number of times, Taiwanese prosecutors have never indicted a ministerial-level official," Chien said.

Chien and Prosecutors' Reform Association spokesman Chen Chih-ming (陳誌銘), a Tainan prosecutor, also asked the government to recall the State Public Prosecutor-General Wu Ying-chao (吳英昭) for his inability to lead prosecutors in a probe of corruption among high-level officials.

Chen said his association opposed Wu's appointment to the post last year because of his past involvement in scandals such as illegal trading of Taiwan Pineapple Corp (台鳳) shares.

"Recent controversies surrounding the probes into the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) and Lafayette scandals have indicated that Wu is not suitable for his job," Chen added.

Yu Chih-li (余致力), the executive director of the Taiwanese chapter of international NGO Transparency International (TI-Taiwan), said the nation has made little progress in its Corruption Perception Index (CPI) over the last 10 years.

Yu said that TI-Taiwan has focused on corruption research for years, and it thinks a more powerful and independent prosecution system is the key to solving the nation's corruption problems.

In addition to calling for an independent prosecution system, more than twenty members of The Prosecutors Association visited Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) yesterday, asking him to support the amendment of the Court Organic Law.

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