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Justice Ministry to spur prosecutorial reform

The Ministry of Justice will put into place a number of key prosecutorial reform measures within the year to maintain the momentum of reform, Cheong Wa Dae said Monday. 

President Moon Jae-in recieves a briefing from Vice Minister of Justice Kim O-su on Friday. Yonhap
President Moon Jae-in recieves a briefing from Vice Minister of Justice Kim O-su on Friday. Yonhap

According to Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung, Vice Minister of Justice Kim O-su briefed President Moon Jae-in on the ministry’s prosecutorial reform plans on Friday, listing changes the ministry aims to complete by the end of the year.

According to the plans, the Justice Ministry has selected core tasks for prosecutorial reform that include strengthening the criminal trial and criminal departments.

The ministry also plans to take steps to ensure the effectiveness of laws aimed at improving the prosecution’s investigation practices. Related changes include introducing investigation protocol for protecting human rights, and prohibiting disclosure of information on ongoing investigations.

Other measures selected for implementation within the year include strengthening the ministry’s inspection functions regarding the prosecutors’ office.

According to Ko, the vice minister also briefed the president on the progress on implementing related plans revealed Oct. 8. Measures implemented by the end of October include the renaming and downsizing of the prosecution’s special investigation department, and revising regulations regarding the Justice Ministry’s ability to inspect the prosecutors’ office.

At the meeting, Moon urged Kim to focus on realistic measures in carrying out the reform, saying that Kim should bear in mind that he is serving as acting justice minister.

The justice minister’s post has been vacant since Oct. 14, when Cho Kuk stepped down amid the prosecution’s probe into allegations surrounding his family and associates.

“The Justice Ministry should carry out the reform by cooperating with the judiciary and prosecution reform committee, focusing on (measures) that are realistically applicable,” Moon was quoted as saying by Ko.

Moon went on to urge Kim to ensure that immediately applicable measures suggested by the judiciary reform committee are implemented quickly and that research is carried out for those that require further review.

Prosecutorial reform is among the Moon administration’s major goals, and the president has stressed on many occasions that the task must be completed quickly.

At a meeting of the anti-corruption committee on Friday, Moon urged concerned government agencies to complete reform that meets the public’s demands while saying that he deems the prosecution’s political neutrality to have risen to high standards.

By Choi He-suk (