PSPD English Newsletter, January 2017
- 2017.01.23 (10:45:28)
This month of the PSPD
The year 2017 has come. I wish you a happy New Year and hope you share blessings with neighbors. People tend to forget past years when a new year comes. I guess that is because to receive a new year with fresh mind. However, I wish the atmosphere of 2016 continues in 2017.
We have witnessed corruption and injustice through the Park Geun-hye - Choi Soon-sil Gate. PSPD will do the best to break them up and bring the fever and passion of citizens demonstrated in streets and daily scenes to correct Korea. Please give us a concern and support.
2016 Whistle Blowers for public interest
<2016 Whistle Blowers for Public Interest and Righteous Citizen Awards> was held on 2 December in the warm and friendly mood. The Righteous Citizen Awards of PSPD was established in 2010 for the purpose of praising courage of whistle blowers for public interest who contribute to correct lies and wrongdoing by reporting corruption, waste of budget, and unconscionable acts to concerned authorities, the press or civil organizations. Candidates recommended by various fields were reviewed and six were selected for the awards. They were awarded with a plague and prize.
The awardees of 2016 include two chosen by PSPD who informed mass infection of hepatitis type C outbreak in Dana clinic, Kim Jeong-mi who reported Inganwon, a facility for the handicapped for subsidy embezzlement and violence against the handicapped and Cho Han-jun who reported starch producer Shinsong Industry for using rotten flour. Choi Sung-jo raised suspicion that Korea United Pharmaceutical falsely claim pharmaceutical costs and Kim Cheol-woo reported former president of Suwon Women University for embezzling school administration expense.
Urgent action to open the National Assembly Square to the public
Any citizen of Korea should be able to watch resolution process of impeachment and deliver opinions to lawmakers in person at the National Assembly on the day. Nevertheless, people were not able to watch the resolution of impeaching Park Geun-hye closely at the National Assembly Hall on 9 December. Starting on 6 December, PSPD is carrying out a campaign to collect citizens’ signatures urgently demanding to open the National Assembly Square to the public. It also presented a statement urging to open and a press release introducing cases of other countries.
PSPD has been demanding it for a long time. In 2013, it carried out a project campaign <Open National Assembly, Communicate Politics>and already presented a report how front courts of national assembly were used in overseas. Even though our demand was not responded this time, PSPD will continue this activity.
A Forum <Desirable procedure of Impeachment trial> held
The National Assembly has accepted demand of the people and decided to impeach the President Park, and the Constitutional Court has set its hands to judge the impeachment. In regard to impeachment trial, there are issues to look into such as the nature and procedure of trial, evidence standard and criminal charges. Therefore, PSPD held a forum <Desirable procedure of impeachment trial> on 21 December in cooperation with Political Party Law Research Center of Korea University and Democratic Legal Studies Association. In the forum, Han Sang-hee, a law chool professor of Konkuk University, Kim Seon-teak, a law school professor of Korea University and Seo Bo-hak, a law school professor of Kyunghee University explained the nature and procedure of impeachment and spoke about their own opinions.
<Allegations and subjects Special Prosecutors must investigate to find the truth>
On 16 December, PSPD pointed out limitations of Special Investigation which has probed Park Geun-hye Choi Soon-sil scandal for monopolizing the state administration, and listed and presented a written opinion <Allegations and subjects Park Young-soo, a special prosecutor must investigate to find the truth>. Main suggestions include △ Kim Ki-choon, a former chief secretary for aiding, abetting and assisting Park and Choi to monopolize the state administration △ Woo Byung-woo, a former chief secretary for civil affairs for aiding, abetting and assisting Park and Choi to monopolize the state administration △ Economy and Politics Cronyism and bribery between Park Geun-hye and Chabeols. △ Park Geun-hye for dereliction of president’s duty in regard to the day Sewol Ferry sank and Hwang Gyo-an for concealing the responsibility of the government.
PSPD has opened the secretariat office for citizens
to rest who came to Gwanghwamun square to protest
The secretariat office of PSPD is located in the midway from Gwanghwamun square to the Blue House. While candle rallies and march demanding Park’s resignation were held despite of cold weather, PSPD has opened its office for protesters on 3 and 10 December. They were able to use toilets in the basement 1 and the 2nd floor and hot coffee was served for free to citizens passing by PSPD building thanks to anonymous contribution of coffee for 2,000 serves. We would like to convey gratitude to the supporter.
Presented policy paper for direct election for director of district prosecutor office
PSPD presented policy paper <Direct election for director of district prosecutor office by residents – Strengthening democratic control over omnipotent prosecutors> on 1 December. It introduces a measure for direct election and suggests to elect 18 directors by residents and to entrust them with general authority on regional affairs.
PSPD has studied measures of democratic control over prosecutors since 2008 and started to insist direct election since 2010. As soon as the 20th National Assembly opened in last August, PSPD held a discussion to suggest direct election at the National Assembly and heard views. Park Geun-hye and Choi Soon-sil gate has raised worries of politicians and the people regarding the reform of prosecutors and they started to pay more attention to what PSPD has suggested. Hence, PSPD will make more chances to explain and promote direct election of directors, and earn more public supports.
Open Park Geun-hye Gate investigation timeline site
PSPD has been recording probe status and outcome of the Special Investigation Team continued after prosecutors and opened a website on 5 December for citizens to be able to check timeline anytime on the internet. It is made to facilitate the people to choose useful and effective information while the people get lost in flooded information. I hope the site helps citizens to check status and development of the investigation.
Petition campaign for damage compensation lawsuit against the National Pension Service
PSPD has submitted a petition of 12,000 for damage compensation against the National Pension Service to the government in cooperation with Public Pension for All and other organizations on 14 December. It requests to take legal action against authorities who badly influence the National Pension Service to support succession of the Samsugn Group management. In the course of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries merger in July 2015, Lee Jae-yong, a vice chairman of Samsung Electronics gave bribes to Choi Soon-sil for his succession and Hong Wan-sun, a head of investment management of the National Pension Service and Moon Hyung-pyo, former welfare minister supported Lee despite of causing damages to the Pension Service. They have been already reported for bribery, breach of trust and misfeasance and subjects of a probe. However, besides applying criminal charges, citizens as a member of the Service have the right to request damage compensation. The Pension Service, people’s security for declining years must not be unfairly misused again.
Public interest Litigation obtained a permission to march up to 100 meters from the boundary of the Blue House
On 3 December, Citizen Action for Park’s Resignation marched to 100 meters from the fence of the Blue House. The Citizen Action for Resignation has complained that the decision of the police to prohibit or conditionally permit rally and march on 3 December was unfair and Seoul Administration Court has admitted it and ruled to secure rally and march up to 100 meters from the Blue House. Consecutively for five weeks, the Public Interest Law Center of the PSPD has tried to get provisional disposition of suspension of execution for weekend rallies and it also took care of this suspension of execution case.
However, no rally and march are still allowed within 100 meters radius from the boundary of the Blue House because the Article 11 of the Act on Assembly and Demonstration defines it as imperatively prohibited area. Unconstitutionality of prohibiting assembly and demonstration within 100 meters radius from boundary of the Blue House, National Assembly and residence of a prime minister is under review and PSPD also has requested lawmakers to revise the Article 11.