The Judicial Yuan and the Ministry of Justice should adopt an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法), which currently allows prosecutors to place restrictions on an accused’s place of residence without a court order, to better safeguard people’s constitutional right to freedom of migration, Control Yuan members said yesterday.
The Control Yuan tabled an investigation report promulgated by Control Yuan members Lee Ful-dien (李復甸) and Yeh Yao-peng (葉耀鵬), in which the pair urged Taiwan’s judicial agencies to include an amendment to mandate that a residence restriction can only be ordered after being permitted by a court.
According to Article 228 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a public prosecutor may impose upon examination a limitation on an accused’s residence if they comply with a summons, voluntarily surrender or accept such a limit of their own free will. Residence limitation is also the main legal basis for the placement of restrictions of exit on a defendant.
“Although the placement of residence restriction has its legal necessity, it is still tantamount to other lawful actions such as search, arrest and detention, as all are forms of restricting people’s freedom,” Lee said.
While the execution of search, arrest and detention orders all need a court’s permission, the law must not empower public prosecutors or other administrative officers to order a placement of residence restriction at will, Lee added.
Citing Article 10 of the Constitution, which guarantees freedoms of residence and change of residence, Lee said granting prosecutors the right to limit people’s residence constituted a violation of the Constitution.
In this regard, the Judicial Yuan and the ministry must propose an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure, Lee said, so as to abide by the Constitution and to fulfill Taiwan’s obligations under the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Pointing to defendants under residence restrictions who still suffer from such limitations even after being acquitted in a first trial, Lee said such actions also violated the Constitution and urged relevant agencies to write an amendment to the law to reflect this.
Translated by Stacy Hsu, staff writer