Fri, Apr 01, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Groups call for impeachment of Yuan official

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Judicial Yuan Vice President Su Yeong-chin (蘇永欽) should be impeached for interfering in the MeHAS land appropriation case’s appeal process by making public comments, judicial reform activists said yesterday during a protest outside the Control Yuan in Taipei.

Landowners accompanied by members of the Taiwan Forever Association, the Judicial Reform Foundation and the Northern Taiwan Society shouted slogans calling for Su to be removed from his post.

“We hope that the Control Yuan can immediately impeach [Su] to maintain Taiwan’s constitutional government and the dignity of our judiciary,” Taiwan Forever Association executive secretary Hung Chung-yen (洪崇晏) said.

He blasted Su for actively seeking out media interviews to elaborate on the Council of Grand Justices’ Constitutional Interpretation No. 732, which ruled that the Taipei City Government’s use of provisions of the Mass Rapid Transit Act (大眾捷運法) and the Mass Rapid Transit Land Development Act (大眾捷運系統土地開發辦法) to appropriate land next to the Xiaobitan (小碧潭) MRT station for a connected development project was unconstitutional.

Su said in interviews following the issuance of the interpretation that while the Taipei City Government’s use of the articles was unconstitutional, the MeHAS project that had sparked the case would not be affected by the interpretation, because it did not fit the definition of “neighboring land” to which the ruling was applied, ruling out any appeal to overturn the city government’s appropriation.

Judicial Reform Foundation executive director Kao Jung-chih (高榮志) said Su’s comments amounted to interfering with the judicial process, because they could influence the decision of lower courts on whether to reopen the case.

“His unauthorized publication of an interpretation of the constitutional verdict is absolutely without precedent; there has never been a case of a grand justice talking with the media like this. The Council of Grand Justices is supposed to use spokespeople and speak through its secretary general, so there is no individual justice who can represent the views of all the justices by publicly commenting on a constitutional interpretation,” he said.

Regardless of whether the lower courts agree to reopen the case, there would inevitably be questions because of Su’s comments, he said.

While activists have previously applied for a judicial evaluation in response, the Judicial Evaluation Committee had ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over grand justices, while the council itself had refused to self-discipline, Kao said, adding that the Control Yuan was the last venue of appeal because of its power to investigate and impeach any central government official.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wellington Koo (顧立雄), who served as a lawyer for MeHAS landowners, criticized Su for “degrading himself” in ordering online changes to his accompanying opinion to the council’s decision after it said that the opinion did not apply to MeHAS.

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