Tue, Oct 23, 2007 - Page 2 News List

High Court rules against Chen in documents case

APPEAL The president enjoys the privilege of national secrets involving the military and diplomacy, but the court said the `fund' case is not protected

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) appeal regarding the Taipei District Court's decision to keep documents seized in the "state affairs fund" case was rejected by the Taiwan High Court yesterday on a technicality, sending it back to the district court and asking it to explain whether the Presidential Office or the president himself was allowed to file the appeal.

President Chen on Oct. 15 appealed a Taipei District Court ruling that rejected his declaration that documents seized in the "state affairs fund" case constitute classified information and should therefore be returned by the court.

The district court however said it would continue to keep them and use them as evidence during the trial.

As a result, Chen filed an appeal with the court over the matter.

The high court yesterday said that because the documents seized by the Taipei District Court initially belonged to the Presidential Office's accounting office, not Chen's office, Chen's personal appeal of the case "was questionable."

Attorney John Chen (陳傳岳) had said that Rulings No. 328 and No. 419 by the Council of Grand Justices stipulates that the president enjoys the privilege of national secrets involving military, diplomacy and national security, which the judiciary has no right to hear.

In addition, Grand Justices' Ruling No. 627 does not enable the court to decide what constitutes a national secret.

He said that Ruling No. 627 adds that the president has the right to interpret or explain why the documents seized in the "state affairs fund" concern national secrets, but that the district court did not allow him to do so.

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