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South Korea's presidential office unveils reform plan of key investigative bodies in attempt to check and balance power Updated: 2018-01-15 07:54:51 KST

It was one of the South Korean president's key campaign pledges during last year's snap presidential election: A reform of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent abuse of
power one that was utterly exposed in the impeachment of the previous president.

Eight months into the job, the Blue House has unveiled its draft copy of the reform involving the nation's intelligence service, prosecution and police.

"We continue to confirm that it was the wrongdoing of the prosecution, police and the National Intelligence Service that led to the corruption case of impeached president Park in 2017.
The Moon administration will end this vicious cycle by putting in place systems to check and balance the power of these organizations."

The Blue House reform plan largely comprises three components.

One, the National Intelligence Service will take its hands off local politics and transfer its rights to investigate espionage cases to the police and focus its efforts on gathering intelligence on North Korea and overseas.

The NIS has been under fire lately on suspicion that it interfered in various elections, including the 2012 presidential election, in which the ousted former leader Park Geun-hye was elected.

Two, the prosecutors' exclusive authority to directly investigate cases will be scaled down as the police will take over most of its investigative functions.

The move will gain further momentum with the creation of a new body to monitor and investigate corruption and influence-peddling of high-level public officials and their families; that includes state prosecutors, judges, generals, lawmakers as well as the president.

Three, the police vested with new investigative powers from the intelligence agency and the prosecution will also be subject to monitoring; a new mission-specific office will be created within the National Police Agency to keep the police in check.

"The Blue House says such reform is absolutely necessary to root out social evils, such as abuse of power, and turn these power-concentrated agencies into ones that stand with the average Koreans not against them.
It remains to be seen whether the reform will be carried out as it not only requires parliamentary approval but also reflecting on the failure of such attempt in 2004 by the Roh administration under which President Moon was chief of staff.
Moon Connyoung, Arirang News, the Blue House."
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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