Fri, Jul 22, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Delay congress, find better judicial nominees: groups

‘COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE’:Civic groups said a delay in the judicial reform congress was necessary because Tsai’s nominees have never pushed for reforms

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should consider delaying a planned judicial reform congress to allow more time for consideration of Judicial Yuan presidential and vice presidential nominees, civic groups said yesterday.

“Nominations should not be made hastily just because of the judicial reform congress — in fact, the congress is important enough that it would be acceptable to push it back a bit,” Grand Justice Selection Civic Watchdog Alliance (民間監督大法官人選聯盟) convener Chiu Hei-yuan (瞿海源) said after activists emerged from a meeting with Tsai at the Presidential Office Building yesterday.

Tsai in her inaugural address promised to call a judicial reform congress on increasing civic participation in the judiciary in October.

“A delay is necessary because the quality of the congress — not how quickly it is called — is what is most important, and it is crucial that nominations [for Judicial Yuan president and vice president] be rigorously reviewed,” Chiu said.

Tsai nominated Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission Chief Commissioner Hsieh Wen-ting (謝文定) to serve as Judicial Yuan president, while picking Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Lin Chin-fang (林錦芳) to serve as Judicial Yuan vice president, which drew criticism from civic activists, who said both nominees are unqualified to head reform efforts.

Chiu quoted Tsai as saying that she would “consider” withdrawing the nominees, and admitting that she had personally picked them instead of relying on the recommendations of the Presidential Office’s small working group for nominating Grand Justices.

Activists said that Tsai justified her choices by citing the importance of career judicial bureaucrats like Hsieh and Lin playing a role in judicial reform efforts.

“Because people with a practitioner’s background tend to be conservative and the Judicial Yuan’s president and vice president are not supposed to serve as ‘secretaries’ for judicial reform, practical experience should not be a condition for nomination,” he said.

Activists have urged the nomination of leading legal experts.

Chiu said that while activists were not satisfied with Tsai’s response, there was still time for reconsideration and review because Legislative Yuan consideration of the nominees is not scheduled until at least September, when this year’s second normal legislative session begins.

“We find it completely unacceptable to nominate a Judicial Yuan president who has never expressed any interest in judicial reform in the past,” Judicial Reform Foundation chairman Joseph Lin (林永頌) said, alleging that Hsieh was involved in prosecuting political cases as a public prosecutor in the Martial Law era.

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