Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday that a Supreme Court ruling on Thursday meant the judiciary was one step closer to resuming proceedings in the “state affairs fund” case involving former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
The court proceedings against Chen have been suspended since October over the issue of classified documents Chen’s office says should not be used as evidence. Chen is seeking the return of the documents, which are being held by the Taipei District Court.
The Presidential Office first asked for the return of the documents on Sept. 6, but the request was struck down by the district court on Oct. 5 and the court proceedings were left in limbo while the matter bounced between the courts.
Chen appealed to the Taiwan High Court, which ruled that the district court had ignored a technicality and must review Chen’s request again.
Chen appealed the High Court’s decision to the Supreme Court, which ruled in December that the High Court had not properly addressed Chen’s request and must hand down a ruling on the documents.
The case went back to the High Court, which ruled on Jan. 16 that the request should be returned to the Taipei District Court for a ruling.
Chen appealed the High Court’s decision, arguing that the court must rule on his request as stated by the Supreme Court.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled in Chen’s favor, reiterating that the High Court must review Chen’s request for the return of the documents.
Wang said yesterday that the Supreme Court’s latest ruling suggested that the factors impeding the proceedings would soon be cleared up and the corruption case would be able to proceed.
During Chen’s administration, the Presidential Office had argued that the documents, which it said concerned six diplomatic missions, were classified material protected by the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法) and that prosecutors and the court should not be allowed to see them.
After last month’s presidential inauguration, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration said it would not declassify the documents, but then the Presidential Office sent a letter to the court agreeing to the documents being included in the case.