Mon, Jul 25, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Groups slam picks for Judicial Yuan

RECONSIDER:Representatives of the Taiwan Society and its various branches were among those speaking against the nominations of Hsieh Wen-ting and Lin Chin-fang

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Society chairman Chang Yeh-sen speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday that was held to urge President Tsai Ing-wen to withdraw her nominations for the Judicial Yuan’s top two offices.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Pro-localization groups yesterday held a news conference to urge President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to withdraw her nominations for the Judicial Yuan’s top two posts, saying the nominees’ backgrounds make them incompatible with her administration’s aims of transitional justice and judicial reform.

Public Functionary Disciplinary Sanction Commission Chief Commissioner Hsieh Wen-ting (謝文定) has been nominated to be Judicial Yuan president, and Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Lin Chin-fang (林錦芳) to be vice president.

The nominations would hamper judicial reform because Hsieh was a party to human rights violations during the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) authoritarian era, while Lin has a history of intervening in the judicial process, Taiwan Society chairman Chang Yeh-sen (張葉森) told the news conference in Taipei.

Hsieh was a lead prosecutor in cases arising from the Chungli Incident, the Kaohsiung Incident and the murders of democracy activist Lin I-hsiung’s (林義雄) mother and twin daughters.

The Chungli Incident was a demonstration in November 1977 against ballot-rigging in the Taipei County commissioner election, while the Kaohsiung Incident refers to a clash between security forces and democracy activists on Dec. 10, 1979.

Lin is accused of intervening in the judicial process by replacing the presiding judges in corruption cases involving former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), of restricting litigants and lawyers from accessing court documents and launching an advisory jury system that has been criticized as a bid to minimize public involvement in the judicial process.

“Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) drew heavy criticism by nominating a military judge involved in the Kaohsiung Incident as a grand justice. However, we were surprised that the Democratic Progressive Party administration nominated someone who held a high-level judicial position during the Martial Law era to be president of the Judicial Yuan,” said Chen Li-fu (陳俐甫), director of the northern branch of the Taiwan Association of University Professors.

Appointing Hsien and Lin would be tantamount to reinstating and affirming an outdated and authoritarian system, which would compromise efforts to bring about transitional justice, Chen said.

“What Hsieh did was an example of the banality of evil. He was responsible for convicting innocent people of crimes they did not commit. How can an official who obeyed whatever order they were given be expected to initiate effective judicial reform?” National Taiwan University student Wu Yun-ching (吳昀慶) said.

“Hsien and Lin were accomplices in human rights violations by the then-authoritarian regime in the 1970s, and they did nothing to protect and promote human rights and freedom after the end of the Martial Law era,” Northern Taiwan Society deputy chairman Lee Chuan-hsin (李川信) said.

“They represent authoritarianism and are not fit to carry out judicial reforms and transitional justice,” Lee said.

More than 80 percent of the public do not trust the judiciary, and that is why Tsai’s pledge to implement judicial reform in her inaugural address won her praise, but Hsieh and Lin are the wrong people for the job, Eastern Taiwan Society vice president Winston Yu (余文儀) said.

The groups urged Tsai to reconsider the nominations, for lawmakers to boycott them and for a judicial reform congress planned for October to be delayed.

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