20131225 ‘September strife’ lays bare state of lawlessness
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‘September strife’ lays bare state of lawlessness

By Chiu Hei-yuan 瞿海源

Following the “September strife,” the leaders of the executive, legislative, judicial and control yuans and the two major political parties have broken the law or violated disciplinary rules.

This group includes President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), Control Yuan President Wang Chien-hsien, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), Minister of Justice Lo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪), Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office head prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang.

Ma acted first when he violated legal procedural justice in taking lightning fast action to expel Wang from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for allegedly violating party discipline.

The prosecutor-general broke the law by ordering wiretaps and leaking secrets, and then violated the Constitution by informing the president and the premier about an ongoing investigation.

Wang and Ker were accused of being involved in improper lobbying. However, the legislature’s Discipline Committee has either not yet handled the issue or perfunctorily decided not to hand down a punishment.

Wang Chien-hsien publicly shielded the president and the prosecutor-general, and attacked the legislative speaker, while Control Yuan members decided not to impeach the prosecutor-general despite his disciplinary and legal violations.

There is even a strong possibility that they will not pass the resolution of the Prosecutorial Evaluation Committee (檢察官評鑑委員會).

As KMT chairman, Ma pressured his party to revoke Wang’s party membership, while the DPP made an all-out effort to support Ker and Wang, doing nothing to initiate disciplinary action or address accusations that they were involved in improper lobbying.

A more thorough inquiry into why top government and party officials are violating the law and disciplinary standards shows that the main problem is that law and order has collapsed.

Ma mixes up national law with internal party rules, and since he is both president and party chairman, he has becomes an emperor who decides everything.

The Control Yuan has always destroyed more than it has created, and it also spends its time fighting the small battles, but letting bigger fish off the hook. In addition, its tools of censure and impeachment are weak. Censure as a tool of punishment has never had any effect, and for an impeachment case to be established, it must first be submitted to the Judicial Yuan’s Commission on the Disciplinary Sanctions of Functionaries (公務員懲戒委員會).

Thanks to constitutional amendments, the Control Yuan no longer has a popular foundation, turning it into a means by which presidents can reward their faithful.

The legislature’s Discipline Committee has never had a practical function. It has done nothing to handle accusations of improper lobbying against Wang and Ker. And finally, the two main parties have done nothing to impartially deal with party members who violate the law or codes of discipline.

There is a problem with the system and nothing is being done to correct it. The head of state, the presidents of the control, judicial and legislative yuans, the leaders of the two main political parties and the prosecutor-general are all leading the way toward legal and disciplinary chaos.

The September strife revealed that when the systems created to guarantee law and order collapse and no one does anything to correct the situation, we end up with a state of lawlessness.

Chiu Hei-yuan is chairman of the Judicial Reform Foundation.

Translated by Perry Svensson

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