Another step back to dictatorship: Justice Ministry announces tighter security measures

Posted on : 2015-01-22 20:56 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Ministry plans to establish firmer legal basis for blocking the activities of groups that “aid the enemy”
 chanting slogans protesting her government’s destruction of democracy
chanting slogans protesting her government’s destruction of democracy

The Ministry of Justice announced plans to ramp up its “security drive” at a presidential report on Jan. 21.

Measures by the ministry, headed by Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, would include establishing legal grounds for disbanding “anti-state” and “enemy-aiding” groups and expanding public security investigation capabilities. The move comes after President Park Geun-hye stressed a similar policy approach with references to “constitutional values” and “strict enforcement of the law.”

During a joint briefing by eight agencies at the Blue House on the morning of Jan. 21, the ministry reported plans to establish a legal basis for blocking the activities and establishment of groups recognized by courts as enemy-aiding or anti-state. The measures would mean a preemptive response to such activities in addition to current after-the-fact punishments.

As a next step, the ministry plans to order the disbandment of enemy-aiding groups or amend the National Security Law to assess compliance charges when groups defy a disbandment order. It also announced plans to increase monitoring of pro-North Korea web pages.

The actions are expected to mean tighter controls and stricter punishments on “pro-North Korea” activities in the wake of the December disbandment of the Unified Progressive Party.

The ministry’s report also mentioned stronger infrastructure and personnel commitment to security investigations. Coming amid a trend of stricter court determinations on evidence for security cases, the move is expected to mean greater specialization for security prosecutors and investigators and expanded use of digital forensic methods - currently used mainly in special investigations - in security investigations as well.

“A lot of plans are developed in terms of staffing, organization, and education to boost security department expertise,” said an official from the prosecutors’ public security office, on condition of anonymity.

Public security office staffing is also expected to be increased at upcoming prosecutorial appointments.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice plans to work with the Ministry of Education to offer more education on the constitution in elementary school textbooks.

“We’re planning to develop a number of different measures to protect constitutional values and establish national identity,” explained vice justice minister Kim Hyun-woong at a briefing on the operational report.

“In particular, we’re planning to institute constitutional education for public servants to establish constitutional values among public officials,” Kim added.

After hearing the report, Park was quoted as saying that “institutional support is important so that the public’s understanding of the importance of law and order and constitutional values is firmly established.”

The Blue House added that Park said, “There must be strict enforcement of law and principle when people defy the law”.

 

By Noh Hyun-woong and Jung Hwan-bong, staff reporters, Seok Jin-hwan, Blue House correspondent

 

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

 

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