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[Newsmaker] Top prosecutor holds meeting on investigation rights bill

The contention over revising the investigative powers of police and the prosecutors’ office appears set to intensify, with Prosecutor-General Moon Moo-il holding a senior prosecutors’ meeting Tuesday.

According to reports, Moon reiterated his stance that the bill on altering the investigative rights of the police agency and the prosecutors’ office violated fundamental principles of democracy at the meeting. 

Moon Moo-il. Yonhap
Moon Moo-il. Yonhap

The bill, which has been put on the fast track by the ruling Democratic Party of Korea and three minor opposition parties, would enable police to close an investigation without approval from the prosecutors’ office. At present, the prosecutors’ office has command over police in investigations.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Moon is also reported to have raised concerns over possibility of police abusing its authority should it be allowed to close cases on its own accord.

“I think that the people’s basic rights can only be fully protected when judicial regulation of investigations (is guaranteed) and when the beginning and the end of investigations are clearly defined,” Moon told reporters ahead of the meeting.

Moon has made it clear he believes that a state organ with the power to open investigations should not be given the authority to close them. On May 1, Moon publicly opposed the proposed changes, saying the concerned bill goes against “principles of democracy” in that it would give police unchecked power.

However, it is unclear whether the prosecution will take the position that related clauses should be removed or that measures enabling a police agency decision to close a case can be overturned should be added to the bill.

According to reports, Moon plans to hold more meetings with senior prosecutors to determine the official position the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office will take on the matter.

By Choi He-suk (