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A strange investigation

Nov 09,2018
A special probe into the allegations that the military’s intelligence unit fiddled with a martial law scheme that rocked the nation folded without tangible results. The Defense Security Command was accused of drawing up a contingency plan in case the Constitutional Court rejected the legislative impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye. Potential actions included arresting of opposition lawmakers, incapacitating the National Assembly and quenching social uproar.

The prosecution formed a joint investigation team with the military and has been investigating the matter since July. The special team said it was ending the probe on the former president and her security adviser as well as Cho Hyun-chun, the former chief of the now-disbanded Defense Security Command.

Closing the investigation is more or less acquitting the accused. A special team of 37 prosecutors and investigators has questioned 204 people and raided 90 locations, but failed to find any key evidence to charge the accused. It was only able to detain three commissioned officers involved in devising a plan for faking public documents. The prosecution was able to book So Gang-won, former chief of staff of the Defense Security Command, for “surveilling the bereaved families of the Sewol Ferry tragedy,” not for ordering the contingency plan. The charge of rebellion could not be established given that an idea that did not materialize is hard to prove.

The team also failed to uncover whether the military seriously considered the idea or if the plan had any real danger for society. The prosecution did not go anywhere because it started the investigation with a set plan. The prosecution has been overzealous on many occasions. It hunted down many in the former administration for committing “past ills,” but had to free most of them. The prosecution must turn its attention from issues of the past to the more urgent affairs of the people.

JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 8, Page 30