Updated November. 27, 2012 04:53
Korean prosecutors are reeling from their worst crisis in the wake of a sex scandal involving one of their own. In response, meetings for rank-and-file prosecutors are planned across the country.
In the talks, prosecutors excluding senior prosecutors can give their opinions freely, reflecting the sense of crisis the profession feels as a whole.
Starting with the Seongnam branch of the Suwon District Prosecutors Office, the Suwon office and the Seoul Northern District Prosecutors Office held a meeting for rank-and-file prosecutors.
The Seoul Western District Prosecutors Office decided to hold a meeting after work Wednesday. A similar discussion was also proposed at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office and Daegu District Prosecutors Office, heralding a series of rank-and-file meetings in 13 district prosecutors offices nationwide.
In the meeting, prosecutors gave proposals on reforming their organizations, such as allocating the functions of prosecution and investigation and removing the central investigation team at the Supreme Prosecutors Office. Sensitive issues such as replacement of the leadership at the Justice Ministry and prosecutors offices were also discussed.
Prosecutors have mixed opinions, however. Certain voices say the leadership, which has lost public confidence due to failure in supervision and biased investigation, cannot implement reform while others argue that the leadership should take control of the crisis based on its own reform plan.
The rank-and-file prosecutors meetings were the first since June last year, when prosecutors and police clashed over investigative rights. Three such talks were held so far but this is the first time for prosecutors to discuss a scandal over the corruption of incumbent prosecutors.
Prosecutor General Han Sang-dae held a meeting to discuss a reform plan with the heads of district prosecutors offices in Daegu, Busan, Ulsan, Gwangju, Jeonju and Jeju from 6 p.m. Monday. With the start of a meeting with the heads of district offices in the Seoul metropolitan area Nov. 15, he hosted a high-level meeting Nov. 22, and plans to hold another with the heads of district offices Thursday. Han will devise a reform plan based on discussions and announce it soon.
The Seoul Central District Court also questioned the prosecutor who allegedly had sex with a suspect, an act considered tantamount to bribery, over his arrest warrant at 3 p.m. Monday. The prosecutor, who had claimed that he engaged in quasi-sexual intercourse at his investigation room, admitted to having sex at his investigation room but insisted no favors were involved.