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Top prosecutor cuts short overseas trip amid stir over reform bills

Prosecutor-General Moon Moo-il called for thorough protection of the basic rights of the people on Saturday, reaffirming his clear opposition to government-led judiciary reform bills.

He made the remarks upon arriving at Incheon International Airport after cutting short his four-country trip, as he caused controversy earlier this week by openly criticizing the bills that call for the expansion of the independent investigative authority of police.

"I also agree with voices for changes in the prosecution's way of carrying out its duties ... But the fundamental rights of the people cannot be compromised at any cost, and there should not be any confusion in executing the investigative rights," Moon said.


Speaking of simmering discontent from the prosecution over the bills and its growing confrontation with police, Moon said he will "assess (the situation) and respond accordingly" after full consideration.

The bills, which were among President Moon Jae-in's key election promises, are designed to curb prosecutors' authority by establishing a special agency to be tasked with looking into allegations of corruption by senior public officials and redistributing investigative powers between the prosecution and police.

Prosecutors have said the envisioned arrangement, where the police would be empowered to initiate and close cases without approval from the prosecution, may end up giving the police excessive power without any measures to keep them in check.

A package of the bills has been fast-tracked in the National Assembly after a brawl among rival parties.

The top prosecutor had been on a tour through Oman, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Ecuador since Sunday for talks on extradition treaties and mutual legal assistance treaties. (Yonhap)