Justice ministry, prosecution file constitutional suit against prosecution reform laws

SEOUL-- The Justice Ministry and the prosecution filed a constitutional petition Monday against recently enacted laws aimed at reducing and ultimately abolishing the prosecution's investigative powers, officials said.

Between late April and early May, the then ruling Democratic Party (DP)-controlled National Assembly passed revisions to the Prosecutors' Office Act and the Criminal Procedure Act despite fierce protest from the then opposition People Power Party.

The revisions, set to take effect in September, limit the prosecution's investigative powers to only two crime types -- corruption and economic crimes -- from the current six before removing them completely.

The petition was filed in the names of Justice Minister Hang Dong-hoon and six working-level prosecutors, along with an injunction seeking to suspend the laws' implementation.

In the lawsuit, the justice ministry disputes the constitutionality of the parliamentary legislation with a focus on whether the DP's railroading of the revisions infringed upon the rights of lawmakers of other parties and whether the legislation excessively restricts the functions of the prosecution.

Since taking office in mid-May, Justice Minister Han repeatedly slammed the legislation, saying it will serve to shield corrupt politicians from criminal punishment while hurting the interests of ordinary citizens.

Source: Yonhap News Agency