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Judges' council favors impeachment of senior justices involved in power abuse scandal

National 17:25 November 19, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 19 (Yonhap) -- A council of representative judges from district courts agreed Monday that it is necessary to seek impeachment of sitting judges implicated in a ballooning power abuse scandal involving the previous Supreme Court chief justice.

"We agree that the alleged acts (of the judges under probe) are a serious breach of the Constitution, which calls for impeachment procedures as well as disciplinary action," the council said in a statement adopted at the end of a regular meeting.

The council's decision come amid a widening prosecution investigation into suspicions that former Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae sought to use politically sensitive trials as bargaining chips in dealings with the office of then President Park Geun-hye.

Prosecutors believe Yang instructed his officials to interfere in trials to deliver verdicts in Park's favor to gain her approval in return for the establishment of a separate court of appeals, his long-envisioned dream.

Prosecutors have arrested and indicted a key man, also a former senior judge, in the scandal and questioned a number of ex-judges over the allegations, with the probe now closing in on Yang.

The council's latest decision will likely give a boost to a parliamentary move toward a motion to file a petition with the Constitutional Court for the impeachment of the judges in question.

A vote in favor by a third of the 299-member parliament enables a motion to be tabled for a vote to reach a decision. If the motion wins a majority at the parliament, the Constitutional Court begins to review the petition.

The judges will be dismissed from their posts if six of the nine judges at the highest court uphold the impeachment.

This image filed Nov. 9, 2018, shows former Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae. (Yonhap)


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