‘Spirit of the Constitution and the system of rule of law are falling apart’

06-Mar-2021 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:49 AM Print This Post

Prosecutor general Yoon Seok-youl’s offer to resign, following his continuing conflict with the ruling bloc over the latter’s efforts for prosecutorial reform, was accepted by President Moon Jae-in only an hour after it was offered Thursday, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

Yoon has claimed that the moves by the government and ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) were undemocratic and aimed at reducing the power of the prosecution.

“I am offering to resign today,” Yoon earlier told reporters after arriving at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in southern Seoul. “The spirit of the Constitution and the system of rule of law are falling apart before our eyes. And it is solely the people that will have to endure the consequences. I can no longer stand by and watch the collapse of common sense and justice that our society has fought so hard to achieve.”

The resignation offer came a year and eight months after he was appointed by President Moon in July 2019. Yoon has clashed with the ruling bloc, particularly with the Ministry of Justice under the tenure of former minister Choo Mi-ae, who stepped down in January after her failed attempt to have him suspended.

Yoon submitted his resignation letter to Justice minister Park Beom-kye immediately after the announcement, and Moon, who has the authority to appoint and dismiss the top prosecutor, immediately accepted the offer. Cheong Wa Dae said it will begin the procedure for appointing a successor.

The surprise offer came after he strongly objected to, among multiple issues in the prosecutorial “reform” measures, the push by the ruling bloc to establish another new investigative office under the ministry, designed to completely overrule the powers of the prosecution. Yoon criticised the move as an attempt to strip the prosecution of its powers, saying that he would give up his job 100-fold if he could stop it. Yoon’s two-year term was to end in July.

Ahead of the push for a new agency, the ruling bloc’s prosecutorial reform measures had already expanded the police’s power and narrowed the prosecution’s investigative scope to six serious crimes. In addition, the Corruption Investigation Office for High-Ranking Officials was set up to deal with corruption cases involving high-level civil servants.

 

Category: Korea

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