October 01, 2019 12:13
President Moon Jae-in was briefed by Justice Minister Cho Kuk on prosecution reform plans on Monday and said state prosecutors must "humbly accept and reflect upon the public's demands for reforms."
Prosecutor-General Yoon Suk-yeol was not present at the meeting, but Moon said, "I am also instructing [Yoon]" to "listen to the voices of the public seeking reforms and to become an institution of authority that gains the public's trust."
Last Friday, Moon told prosecutors to "moderate the exercise of authority" as they raided the justice minister's home over a scandal involving nepotism, corruption and shady financial dealings.
Cho's reforms plans include downsizing of the special investigation team at the Supreme Public Prosecutors' Office, strengthening of the criminal trial department, and banning prosecutors from announcing details of pending cases.
"The more powerful an institution, the more it needs democratic regulations," Moon said.
He pointed out that prosecutors continue to face criticism about the way they exercise power and about their organizational structure, despite increased autonomy from government influence.
Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung said, "The president instructed [the reform measures] to be implemented after the investigation into the justice minister ends to avoid misperceptions that could may hinder the ongoing probe."
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