Sun, Sep 22, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Transitional Justice database launch to happen this year

By Chen Yu-fu and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Transitional Justice Commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui speaks during an interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) on Wednesday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The Taiwan Transitional Justice Database is to be launched before the end of the year, Transitional Justice Commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠) said on Friday.

The database is to be a free, public-access, virtual archive of government documents pertaining to White Terror-era trials and is to draw records from the National Archives Administration, the National Human Rights Museum and the Ministry of National Defense, Yang said.

The commission has files on 97,000 people who faced trial and they are to be uploaded next month and reviewed before publication, she said.

The administrative and legal documents shed light on the institutional structure and inner workings of military jurisprudence during the White Terror era, enabling researchers to identify the real decisionmakers of the time, she said.

While the documents suggests that Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) had the final say in trial outcomes, military prosecutors and judges were not completely subservient and at times offered “soft resistance” by objecting in writing to Chiang’s directives, she said.

For example, Chiang in 1965 ordered a tribunal to hand down the death sentence to seven defendants, among them Shih Yu-wei (史予為), she said.

Almost every defense official involved, including Chiang’s son Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), demurred, recommending prison sentences of 12 to 15 years, and they spelled out their objections to Chiang Kai-shek in more than 10 official documents, she said.

Although Chiang Kai-shek put his foot down, the episode showed that the state was not a monolith, Yang said.

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