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Supreme Court chief justice emphasizes necessity of probes into alleged judicial power abuse

Supreme Court Chief Justice Kim Meong-su on Monday reiterated that prosecutorial probes into allegations that top court justices abused their judicial authority were necessary in order to restore the right to a fair trial.

Kim has been pushing for judicial reform in an effort to regain credibility and the right to a fair trial.

“The difficulties the court is currently undergoing are unavoidable in giving back to citizens their right to a fair trial, free from outside interference,” Kim said during a meeting of the Supreme Court staff on Wednesday.

Kim added he was not hesitant to reveal the truth behind allegations involving the judiciary and that he would humbly accept criticism about the results of probes.

In late June, Kim had also requested 13 judges to be punished for their abuse of power. Of the 13, eight were punished, sparking controversy that such action would tarnish the credibility of the judicial system.

“The judicial body must restore its credibility. (To do so) this year, I plan to push ahead with completing the mission of judicial reform,” Kim said.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Kim Meong-su (Yonhap)
Supreme Court Chief Justice Kim Meong-su (Yonhap)

As the first step to prevent further abuse of judicial power, Kim laid out plans to put together an administrative system that includes transferring power of the Supreme Court chief justice to an outside official, and abolishing the National Court Administration.

A legislative bill to abolish the National Court Administration, and one to newly establish a council to keep in check the power of the Supreme Court chief justice have been put together under Kim.

Addressing concerns that prosecutorial investigation drove a wedge between members of the judicial body, Kim said, “I am sure the judiciary can overcome hardships through communication and by reconciling different concerns.”

“While forming unity, we might not have the same opinion. But we must seek unity. Now is the time to tolerate, respect and listen to those with opposing views.”

By Kim Bo-gyung (