Tue, Apr 07, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Protesters call for censuring of Council of Grand Justices

WHITE TERROR Former prisoners and families of the victims said the grand justices had failed to rule on their case against the imposition of martial law

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former prisoners from the White Terror period, victims’ relatives and supporters protest outside the Control Yuan in Taipei yesterday, calling on the Council of Grand Justices to rule that the imposition of martial law on Taiwan was unconstitutional.

PHOTO: CNA

About 100 people whose family members were victims of the White Terror gathered outside the Control Yuan yesterday to call for the censuring of the grand justices.

The demonstrators held up signs that read: “People are watching the Council of Grand Justices,” “Council of Grand Justices tolerates White Terror” and “Grand Justices have failed to do their job, the Control Yuan should censure them.”

They protested that the council had ignored their pleas and should be censured for failing to rule on the constitutionality of the decades-long martial law, which was imposed in 1949 — a case that they hoped could lead to compensation for thousands of former political prisoners and the families of those who were executed.

“There are 15 grand justices who receive a monthly salary of about NT$300,000,” said former national policy adviser Hsieh Tsung-min (謝聰敏), who was also a political prisoner.

“But in 2006, they only issued 14 rulings [on the interpretation of the Constitution], in 2007 there were 12 rulings, and last year 18 rulings. That means they barely issued two rulings per month. But their salaries are the highest of all judges,” he said.

Hsieh and the demonstrators urged Taiwanese to scrutinize the grand justices.

The White Terror refers to the period of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rule in which hundreds of thousands of people were arrested, imprisoned, tortured or murdered. The KMT killed tens of thousands of suspected dissidents — mainly Taiwanese intellectual and members of the social elite — as it searched for communist agents and sympathizers, independence activists and others the KMT feared could pose a threat to its rule. The all-powerful Taiwan Garrison Command identified victims through a web-like secret agent system.

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