Wed, Mar 13, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Foundation, lawmaker call for better way to remove prosecutors, judges

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Judicial Reform Foundation chairman Lin Yung-sung, second left, New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang, second right, and advocates yesterday hold a news conference in Taipei, accusing the Judicial Yuan of delaying amendments to the Judges Act.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The Judicial Reform Foundation and New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) yesterday called for a more effective system to eliminate unfit prosecutors and judges, and urged the Judicial Yuan to immediately submit draft amendments.

“The current system for evaluating the performance of prosecutors and judges has proven mostly useless over the past six years,” because evaluation committee members work part-time and are tainted by nepotism,” foundation chairman Lin Yung-sung (林永頌) told a news conference in Taipei.

Unlike Control Yuan members, the Judicial Evaluation Committee members are not full-time employees and are assigned evaluation tasks once or twice a year, he said.

While most of the members are judges, prosecutors, lawyers or academics, “people in the legal sector embrace nepotism and would scratch each other’s back,” Lin said.

To better ensure quality and fairness, the committee should have at least some full-time members and more than half of the members should come from outside the legal sector, he said.

“It does not take a law expert to tell whether a prosecutor or judge has violated their code of ethics,” Lin said.

Although a draft amendment to the Judges Act (法官法) unveiled in July last year by the Judicial Yuan plans to increase the number of committee members outside the legal sector, more than half of the committee members would still come from the legal sector, he said.

In addition to reforming the committee, the Judicial Yuan should improve mechanisms to hold chief judges and prosecutors-general responsible for poorly performing subordinates, foundation executive director Chen Yu-fan (陳雨凡) said.

“Chief judges and prosecutors-general know which judges and prosecutors are unfit for the job. They are responsible for supervising their subordinates even without any amendments being passed,” she said.

When they do not properly supervise their subordinates, the Judicial Yuan should remove them from their positions, she added.

Since the Judges Act was amended in 2011, the committee has carried out two three-yearly reviews of the nation’s judges and found no problems, Huang said.

The results were a “departure from reality” and showed that the reviews were a waste of taxpayers’ money, he said.

The draft amendments have been delayed, because the Judicial Yuan has yet to submit them to the legislature, Huang added.

When asked about its progress, the Judicial Yuan has said that the draft amendments are being reviewed by the Executive Yuan or the Examination Yuan, he said.

The proposed amendments are part of the Judicial Yuan’s efforts to reform the Court of the Judiciary after a sexual harassment scandal involving then-Taipei High Administrative Court judge Chen Hung-pin (陳鴻斌) sparked a public outcry over unfit judges.

Chen, found guilty of sexually harassing his assistant on three occasions, was last year given a fine equal to his annual salary, or about NT$2.16 million (US$69,892 at the current exchange rate).

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