President and commander-in-chief Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has wasted an opportunity to redeem the military’s honor and to regain people’s trust with the investigation report on the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) issued by the military judiciary yesterday, the pan-green camp said.
While 18 military personnel were indicted by the Supreme Military Court’s Prosecutors’ Office on various charges related to Hung’s death, the report and the indictment statement failed to address the motivation behind their behavior, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said.
“The truth will never be found without knowing the motivation behind the crime,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference, adding that the military judiciary’s hasty prosecution before a planned mass protest on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei on Saturday was likely an effort to neutralize the demonstration.
The report depicted Hung as an unpopular member of his unit and left the question of how he had offended his superiors and many other questions unanswered, Lin said.
Former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday visited the Hung family in Greater Taichung and said the case was “a tragedy for the entire Taiwanese society,” for which the government has to be held responsible.
The family’s determination to find the truth has inspired the public and provided the opportunity for a social reform movement, Tsai said
The public has examined the incident from every possible angle, but most people are not satisfied with the government’s attitude in response to the controversial death, she said.
DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) told a separate news conference that the hasty prosecution showed that the Ma administration is trying to avoid amending military laws and to “clear up the mess” ahead of Ma’s visit to Central and South America, which is scheduled to begin on Aug. 11.
Gao also accused the military judiciary of ignoring the Ministry of Justice, which has assigned the Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office to probe alleged destruction of evidence in the case, by proceeding with the indictments while the civilian investigation was still underway.
“It does not look like the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Justice have been collaborating on the case as Ma had demanded,” Gao said, adding that the military judiciary only wanted to finish the investigation before new Minister of National Defense Andrew Yang’s (楊念祖) report is delivered to the legislature today.
The TSU also panned the military for treating the case as manslaughter rather than murder, saying there appeared to be an effort to make lower-ranked non-commissioned officers the scapegoats to protect high-ranking officers.
“They gave us the results [of the prosecution], but not the truth. An indictment statement without the perpetrators’ motivation is not acceptable,” TSU Legislator Yeh Chin-ling (葉津鈴) said.