A judicial reform subcommittee meeting yesterday discussed the prosecution of environmental pollution cases, issuing recommendations that violators be punished more severely and a special fund set up to pay for expenses incurred during investigations into and trials of suspected environmental crimes.
The third subcommittee of the national affairs conference on judicial reform convened its second meeting at the offices of the Ministry of Justice’s Agency Against Corruption, headed by Academia Sinica researcher Chu Hai-yuan (瞿海源) and Hsinchu County Prosecutor Chen Jui-jen (陳瑞仁), with Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) in attendance.
Chiu and members of the committee presented a report which outlined a number of recommendations, including the formulation of a new set of regulations specifically for the prosecution of companies suspected of dumping hazardous waste or the discharge of untreated effluent and other polluting activities.
The report called for longer jail terms and higher fines for such offenders, and for the law to allow for confiscation of violating companies’ assets and illegal profits.
The report also recommended that fines be put into a special fund to help finance future investigations into and prosecutions of suspected environmental offenders, because prosecutors and police agencies have complained about the difficulty and high expenses incurred in investigating such cases.
“Most industrial dumping and other incidences of pollution occur in out-of-way locations... These have proven difficult to reach, and require units with special equipment to gain access and collect samples. It has deterred some prosecutors and police units from proceeding with investigations,” the committee report said.
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