Sun, Aug 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Members boycott reform congress

CONSERVATIVEThe Judicial Yuan has a vested interest in opposing a jury system, so public hearings should be held to settle the issue, the NPP’s executive chairman said

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Jury Association chairman Chang Ching announces his decision to withdraw from the National Congress on Judicial Reform outside the Presidential Office Building in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

National Congress on Judicial Reform preparatory committee members yesterday presented their recommendations at its final meeting, while some abstained from the meeting in protest, saying that their views on gender equality and children’s rights were ignored.

Women’s rights advocate and lawyer Lai Fang-yu (賴芳玉), Garden of Hope Foundation chief executive Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容), Taiwan Healthcare Reform Foundation chief executive Joanne Liu (劉淑瓊) and social studies professor Lai Yueh-mi (賴月蜜) did not attend the meeting.

While Lai Yueh-mi was reportedly ill, the other four had said they were dissatisfied and felt “let down” when many of their recommendations were watered down or excluded from the subcommittee’s resolutions.

Taiwan Jury Association chairman and former judge Chang Ching (張靜) had threatened to boycott the deliberations, saying the subcommittee failed to decide on how to include civic participation in the judiciary to improve transparency.

Chang criticized the meeting agenda and said that the proposed final resolutions do not meet public expectations and do not improve judicial independence.

Chang left the meeting in protest after he raised a motion on requirements for passing the resolution, and then decried the congress for not discussing implementing a jury system.

Controversy over two committee members, professor Lin Yu-hsiung (林鈺雄) and lawyer Chen Chung-yen (陳重言), stalled the meeting after the two had earlier resigned from the committee, but questions still remained over their status and voter eligibility.

The Presidential Office said it took care to invite important government figures and representatives from various political parties to attend the meeting.

Among those invited were Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus convenor Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), New Power Party (NPP) Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and Republican Party Chairperson Hsu Hsing-ying (徐欣瑩).

Top Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials were also invited, but none attended yesterday.

Huang said he opposes the proposal that the Judicial Yuan appoint an internal committee to decide on civic participation — whether Taiwan should employ a 12-person jury system or a limited participatory jury system or appoint citizen judges.

The Judicial Yuan is a very conservative force and has vested interests in opposing a jury system, Huang said, adding that political parties should take responsibility and hold a series of public hearings to decide what would be the best for the nation.

The agenda did not give him time to speak, Soong said on social media, but added that he supports implementing a jury system.

“Many people do not trust the judicial system and our priority is to regain that trust. Many people have said they want effective participation in court decisions so that cases are not decided upon by one judge. The best way to make a change is to implement a jury system,” Soong said.

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