On the 11th, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office of the Prosecutors' Citizens' Committee agreed to accept the request to hold an investigation review committee requested by Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, who is accused of illegal administration of Propofol.

The continuation of the investigation, which started with a public interest report in January of last year, will now be first judged by the Supreme Prosecutors' Investigation Review Committee composed of outsiders.

It is also the first Investigation Review Committee to be held in the case of'drug charges' since the Investigation Deliberation Committee system was introduced in 2018.

Vice-Chairman Lee Jae-yong was able to assert the unjustness of the prosecution's investigation at the Investigation Review Committee for the second time following the charges of'Illegal Merger of Samsung C&T' in June of last year.

Last year, when the Investigation Review Committee recommended a non-prosecution of Lee's alleged “Illegal Merger of Samsung C&T”, liberal organizations and civil society drew a lot of criticism.

It was pointed out that the committee, which was created as a means of strengthening civil control over the prosecution's investigation, was used as a'shield for people with money and strength'.

Various demands have emerged that the system needs to be supplemented.

However, in a situation where no supplements were made, within a year, the Investigation and Deliberation Committee for Vice Chairman Lee was held again.

It is the Investigation Review Committee held for the same person, Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, but the nature of the case to be dealt with is very different.

Unlike the'illegal merger' case where the content is complex and there are many opinions even in the application of the law, the'propofol' case that will be dealt with by the Investigation Deliberation Committee this time is of a much simpler nature.

Rather than a detailed debate on the application of the law, the conclusion of facts is also an important case in determining whether to be prosecuted or not guilty.

The situation in which the investigation of a case of this nature was discussed in an investigation review committee composed of external members raises several questions to be answered.

Application for Doosan IV was dismissed, Lee Jae-yong was negative...

What are you going to do with other celebrity drug charges?

The Supreme Prosecutor's Office's Investigation and Deliberation Committee is designed to convene a'case that raises national suspicion or draws attention to society'.

If the'Citizens' Committee' of the prosecutor's office that has jurisdiction over the case decides to send the case to the Supreme Prosecutor's Office's Investigation Deliberation Committee, the Supreme Prosecutors' Office's Investigation Deliberation Committee selects 15 people by lottery from the pool of 150-250 citizens of various fields to form a committee. .

In the committee organized in this way, △whether to continue the investigation, △whether a prosecution or non-prosecution was filed, △whether a warrant of confinement was requested or reclaimed, △the suitability and legality of the investigation of a case that was filed for prosecution or non-prosecution, etc.

However, there have been constant criticisms that the standards of cases subject to the Investigation Review Committee are too ambiguous.

How far will it be viewed as an'event that raises national suspicions or draws attention to society'?

Since the abstract word'national suspicion' or'social interest', not the content of the allegation or the type of case, is the standard, there is a problem of equity that anyone gets an opportunity to object to the investigational deliberation committee even for similar charges. .

Here's a familiar example.

This is the case of Vice-Chairman Park Jin-won, the fourth-year-old Doosan family, who was accused of habitual administration of Propofol last year and was not charged by the prosecution.

Vice-Chairman Park is said to have requested a convocation of the Investigation Review Committee, saying that he would consider the adequacy of the investigation at the time.

However, unlike in the case of Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, it is known that the Prosecutors' Citizens' Committee rejected Vice Chairman Park's request for convocation of the Investigation Deliberation Committee.

Of course, there may be a difference between the details of the charges of Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong and Vice Chairman Park Jin-won and the'national interest'.

However, the criteria for judicial proceedings should be clearer.

In the future, when a famous celebrity or public figure, who has been accused of narcotic drugs, requests a convocation of an investigation deliberation committee based on the case of Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, it is questionable whether everyone can make a convincing judgment based on the current standards.

With unclear standards, some people's case gets an opportunity to appeal at the Investigation Deliberation Committee, and some people don't get it, a question mark is bound to be stamped on the common sense that'the law should be fair to everyone'.

It is also questioned whether it is appropriate to decide whether to continue the investigation of a case of the same nature as the'drug drug allegation' through discussions and votes by external citizens.

An attorney from the prosecution with a lot of experience in drug investigation said, "Drugs cases are more important than the area of ​​controversy, but the facts are more important through investigation." I wonder if it is correct to decide by opinion."

Of course, the prosecution is not obligated to follow the recommendations of the Investigation Deliberation Committee, but the more celebrities the other party has in public opinion, the greater the burden of investigating the case according to the recommendations of the Investigation Deliberation Committee.

After the enactment, a lot of criticism has been raised, but more discussions need to take place on this occasion to supplement the standards of the Investigation Deliberation Committee, which are still the same.

Negative Deliberation Committee, which discusses only the written opinion within 30 pages...

The discussion process is'black'

In order to dispel these controversies, there should be even a minimal explanation of the basis for the decision of the Citizens' Committee of the Prosecutors' Office.

However, the Prosecutors' Citizens' Committee of the Prosecutors' Office at each level, which decides whether to hand over the case to the Investigation and Deliberation Committee, is not required to make a minimum public announcement if the applicant, etc. does not want to disclose it.

In the case of Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong's Propofol case, the Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office Citizens' Committee did not officially disclose whether or not it was submitted to the Investigation Deliberation Committee.

The discussion process is also dark.

According to the prosecution's rules, the'Deputy Deliberation Committee', which decides whether to submit a case to the Investigation Deliberation Committee, reviews only the written opinions of up to 30 pages from both the prosecution and the suspect.

In principle, there is no opportunity for additional opinions from both the prosecution and the suspect based on the written opinion.

Therefore, in extreme cases, even if the opinions contain information that is different from the facts, the committee members should determine whether they have submitted an investigation deliberation based on this.

Even if the media requests information disclosure to the prosecutors' office at various levels to verify this process, there are many cases where even the minimum content is not disclosed due to the personal information of the suspect.

Paradoxically, the process of the investigation deliberation committee, which deals with cases of'national interest', is in the blind spot of national surveillance.

The vague standards of the investigation and the closed decision process are bound to be engulfed in controversy over standards and equity every time a case involving a celebrity arises.

If the appearance of'citizen control' does not result in the substance of'dilution of responsibility',

The Supreme Prosecutors' Investigation Review Committee was introduced in 2018 as part of the prosecution reform.

As public opinion accumulates that the prosecution's right to investigate and exercise the right to prosecute is arbitrary, it was created as a means to introduce civil control into the process of prosecution power.

There were opinions that the US grand jury system or the Japanese prosecution system should be introduced to control the prosecution's investigation process and prosecution, but a self-rescue measure called the'Investigation Deliberation Committee' was designed and implemented as an alternative.

However, issues have been raised not only in civil society but also in academia.

Last year, in a survey of 24 criminal law professors at 24 law schools nationwide, 23 professors replied, "There is a problem with the composition and operation of the Investigation Deliberation Committee, so it is difficult to trust the Investigation Deliberation Committee at present." Came out.

The biggest problem is that the operation of various committees within the prosecution can lead to unintended consequences of'diluting responsibility' rather than achieving the substance of'citizen control'.

In the process of closed discussions by committees based on ambiguous standards, there is a fear that the functioning of the investigative agency will be hindered and the responsibility for handling the case may be diluted.

This can happen more easily in primitive cases where the confirmation of facts is important than in cases that require complex legal review.

For example, in the future, if celebrities who are suspicious of drugs frequently appoint a competent attorney and demand the convocation of the investigation deliberation committee, the investigative agency will make an excuse that'the result could not be achieved due to the delay of the investigation' as the investigative agency, and the suspect is the suspect. As such, there may be many things to complain about that'the standards of the law were not fair'.

It is necessary to check the public power of the investigative agency.

However, if the process is not carefully designed, the risk of those with other powers, such as economic power and the ability to drive public opinion, will only increase the risk of dragging the operation of public power in their own favorable direction.

The reason is good, but from the perspective of most ordinary people who live without committing big crimes in their lifetime, it can be a system that is sometimes not possible.

It is a problem to be considered at least once in the case of the chaebol chief's charges of taking propofol, which was consumed with all sorts of scandals and turned to the investigation deliberation committee.

** References

- rational management plan for civil prosecution by the Commission of control measures prosecuting discretion, bakchangeol, Hanyang Law 28 (3)

- Prosecutors citizens' committee and the group timid Critical Analysis of the social system, gimtaemyeong, Criminal Policy Research 2010.12 issue

- Criminal Professors "Improvement of the Prosecution's Investigation and Deliberation Committee", Reporter Kang, <Legal Newspaper> July 23, 2020