Taiwan: Erosion of Justice, Answer to the Answer

Last November 6th, I wrote a post (HERE) about a letter written by scholars and writers from the US, Europe and Australia about Justice in Taiwan.

The Minister of Justice of Taiwan replied and his letter was published few days after in Taipei Times on the November 25 issue.

On the today’s edition, the same scholars, writers and political figures answered to him.

Here are some excerpts:

1. The procedure of “preventive detention”: … Yet, during the past weeks, it (this procedure) has been used across the board, and it has been used only against present and former members of Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] governments. This casts severe doubts on the impartiality of the judicial system.

We also wish to point out that the people involved were detained under deplorable circumstances, and that they were not even allowed to see relatives.

2. Your open letter contains the argument that when they were detained, the present and former DPP government officials “were all informed of the charges that had been brought against them.”

This is simply not correct. When they were detained, they were subjected to lengthy interrogations — in some cases for up to 20 hours — which bore the character of a “fishing expedition,” and do not represent a formal indictment in any legal sense.

3. Your open letter also states that the persons involved had “the right and ability to communicate with their attorneys to seek legal assistance.” It neglects to mention, however, that in all cases where people were detained, the discussions with the lawyers were recorded and videotaped while a guard took notes.

This information was then immediately transmitted to the respective prosecutors. We don’t need to point out that this is a grave infringement on international norms regarding lawyer-client privilege and makes mounting an adequate defense problematic at best.

4. On the issue of leaks to the press, your letter states that, under the Code of Criminal Procedure, information from ongoing investigations can only be disclosed by spokespersons of the prosecutor’s offices and that unauthorized disclosure is subject to criminal prosecution.

The fact of the matter is that during the past weeks, the media have been filled with information on the ongoing investigations that could only have come from the prosecutors.

We may point out one example, but there are numerous others:

Only a few hours after former minister of foreign affairs Mark Chen [陳唐山] was questioned on Nov. 3, Taiwan’s Apple Daily newspaper ran an article saying that “the prosecutors are thinking of charging Dr Chen in relation to the case.”

The issue of violation of the principle of secret investigation was also raised by Shilin District Court Judge Hung Ying-hua [洪英花], who strongly criticized the present situation and procedures followed by your ministry in a Liberty Times article on Nov. 17.


5. Your letter states that it is untrue that Taiwan’s judicial system is susceptible to political manipulation.

If this is the case, how can it be explained that in the past weeks, only DPP officials have been detained and given inhumane treatment such as handcuffing and lengthy questioning, while obvious cases of corruption by members of the KMT — including in the Legislative Yuan — are left untouched by the prosecutors or at best are stalled in the judicial process?

We may add that the fact that you yourself have publicly discussed the content of the cases does create a serious imbalance in the playing field, and undermines the basic dictum that a person should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Under the present circumstances it is hard to see how the persons involved — including former president Chen — can have a fair trial in Taiwan.

I think that the “answer to the answer” is clear enough.

Obviously, according these circumstances, it is normal that people have some question marks, right?

But until when these people will have the right to have those question marks?

For the full letter, it is HERE.

Mots clés Technorati : ,,,

3 Responses

  1. The Minister of Justice of Taiwan replied and ***his*** letter was published few days after in Taipei Times on the November 25 issue.

    On the today’s edition, the same scholars, writers and political figures answered to ***him***.


    Dear Fvarga,

    Taiwan’s Minister of Justice is a “she” …

    Please delete my comment.

  2. Nice blog. Will come visit often.

  3. Oops, a gender mistake

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