Published On: Tue, Jan 10th, 2017

South Korea’s Supreme Court Warned Against Delays in Park’s Impeachment Trial

nsnbc : The Supreme Court South Korea on Tuesday, warned against a possible delay of impeachment proceedings against embattled President Park Geun-hye. The Court is deliberating a motion to impeach President Park.

park-geun-hye_south-korea_korea__dec-2016Supreme Court Chief Justice Park Han-chul warned in the third pleading session that future proceedings must not be postponed, citing time shortage in the preparations. He also urged both the defendant and plaintiff sides to bear that in mind.

The head of the nine-judge Supreme Court asked both sides to speed up proceedings. That said, the admonition was primarily aimed at embattled President Park and her legal team which offered details on the impeached leader’s whereabouts on the day of the ferry-sinking disaster to the court on Tuesday, 19 days after the court’s demand.

The suspected absence of President Park in the presidential Blue House when the passenger ferry Sewol capsized and claimed over 300 lives on April 16, 2014, was cited as one of the main reasons for the impeachment that was passed in the parliament on December 9, 2016.

The court has granted 180 days to deliberate, but it has been speeding up the deliberation by holding trials twice a week to minimize the power vacuum that was created due to the impeachment process. A presidential election must be held in 60 days if the court upholds the bill.

Park’s legal team has been under fire for the suspected delay of legal proceedings. Park’s lawyers have demanded a criminal trial on all counts of five constitutional and eight criminal charges against the president.

Proving all the charges will take much longer time than the constitutional ruling, which allows the president to be fired on disciplinary grounds if Park violated any of the 13 counts.

Delays were also caused because key witnesses refrained from attending the trial. Park’s longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil at the center of the presidential scandal as well as two former presidential secretaries refused, or delayed, the court’s summoning.

The head of the parliamentary judiciary committee, which serves as prosecutors in the constitutional trial, raised suspicion that Park’s legal team may be intentionally postponing the proceedings by discouraging witnesses from attending the hearing.

F/AK – nsnbc 10.01.2016

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