Tue, Dec 18, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Justice commission touts achievements in report

By Chen Yu-fu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

From left, Transitional Justice Commission member Yeh Hung-ling, Acting Chairwoman Yang Tsui and commission members Greg Yo and Peng Jen-yu attend a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

The establishment of the Transitional Justice Commission has enabled the nation for the first time in its history to take action against people who committed injustice during the authoritarian period, the commission said yesterday.

The commission, which was established on May 31, said in a half-yearly report that its formation has allowed the government to organize and make public the political documents related to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and to address the White Terror era’s psychological effects on its victims and their families.

By the end of October next year, the commission would create a national transitional justice database to answer questions related to the White Terror era, such as: “Who were the victims and for how long were they imprisoned?” “Who issued the sentences?” “What mistakes did the government make?” and “Who should be held responsible?” commission spokeswoman Yeh Hung-ling (葉虹靈) said.

The database would include a section on perpetrators including military prosecutors, military judges, aides-de camp to the president and final decisionmakers, she said.

Verdict documents would also be made public, Yeh said, adding that the revelations would not infringe upon personal data protection rights.

The database would integrate political documents held by the National Archives Administration and the National Human Rights Museum to end the practice of naming victims while keeping perpetrators anonymous, Yeh said.

In response to the argument that only the judiciary can identify the perpetrators, commission member Greg Yo (尤伯祥) said that the criticism stems from a misunderstanding of the division of the administrative and judicial branches.

In exercising their powers, administrative agencies can investigate evidence and conduct fact-finding procedures on their own, he said.

The Act on Promoting Transitional Justice (促進轉型正義條例) tasks the commission with the responsibility of identifying the perpetrators, he said, adding that therefore the commission must investigate the perpetrators.

The commission has also asked the central bank to provide a time frame and an estimate for the cost of changing the design of the nation’s currency.

A rumor that the change would cost NT$50 billion (US$1.62 billion) is false, commission acting chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠) said.

The commission has asked the central bank to report the costs of the redesigns in 2000 and 2005 so that it could understand the cost of a redesign, she added.

The portrait of former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) appears on the NT$1 and NT$5 coins, an old version of the NT$10 coin and the NT$200 bill, which is not widely circulated, Yang said.

If the rise in popularity of claw machines is a legitimate reason for the central bank to set aside a budget to mint more coins, the promotion of transitional justice should also serve as a legitimate reason, she said.

The commission’s goal is not to “remove Chiang,” but to remove authoritarian symbols, she said.

Statues of Chiang would be handled using an integrative approach rather than by a single government agency, Yang said.

Of the 51 locations where injustice was carried out during the White Terror era, the Investigation Bureau’s Ankang Guesthouse (安康接待室) in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店) is the most well-preserved, she said.

The guesthouse would be preserved and the National Property Administration would not reassign it to a separate agency, she added.

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