Colonel Park Jeong-hoon’s ‘fight that cannot be lost’… Violations of the law abound

The arrest warrant for Park Jeong-hoon, former head of the Marine Corps investigation team (colonel), who was charged with insubordination while investigating the ‘Marine Corps Corporal Chae’s death in the line of duty case’, was dismissed last week. This week, the hectic pace continued, with new facts being revealed regarding suspicions of external pressure from above and a special prosecutor being proposed.

The ministerial order “not to specify charges” stated in the military prosecutor’s document

further deepened suspicions of Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-seop’s intervention in the investigation. This is because, among other things, it was revealed that Colonel Park’s arrest warrant request prepared by the military prosecutors included a ministerial instruction not to specify the charges. The Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps attended a meeting of the Ministry of Defense on the afternoon of July 31 and received instructions from the Minister, then returned to the Marine Corps Headquarters and delivered the Minister’s instructions to the Commander and Colonel Park. It means that it contains the content “It will be done.”So far, Minister Lee Jong-seop has claimed that he did not give an order to ‘drop the charges.’

This statement has been shown to be false.

Regarding this, the Ministry of National Defense said, “At a meeting of the Ministry of National Defense at the time, the legal affairs manager (Yoo Jae-eun) reported that legally, ‘if the criminal charge is unclear, transfer is possible by stating only the facts without specifying the criminal charge,’ and Minister Lee He explained, “I instructed the deputy commander to explain this to the head of the Marine Corps investigation team (at the time, Park Jeong-hoon).” Even if we accept the Ministry of Defense’s explanation as is, the suspicions will not be resolved. Colonel Park had already identified and reported the charges against eight people, including the division commander, and had received approval. How is the sudden explanation to Colonel Park that ‘the charges can be removed and the case transferred’ different from the instruction to ‘remove the charges’?

Private First Class Yoon, Sergeant Yeram Lee… Have you already forgotten about the wrongful death?

Minister Lee says it is only an ‘order to reexamine the law’, but this alone can be seen as intervention in the investigation.

Article 228, Paragraph 3 of the Military Court Act stipulates that ‘if a crime related to the death of a soldier is recognized, it shall be transferred to a civilian investigative agency.’ This is a new provision introduced in 2021. You will clearly remember the case of Sergeant Lee Ye-ram, who committed suicide that year after being a victim of sexual assault in the military and suffering from secondary assault. You may also remember the 2014 case of Private Yoon, who died due to continued mistreatment by senior soldiers. At the time, the military announced, “Private First Class Yoon died due to airway obstruction while eating.” The law was revised to prevent such unjust deaths in the military from being buried through concealment and distortion from the higher-ups. The purpose is for higher-ups not to be involved in the investigation.

Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-seop’s actions are contrary to the Military Court Act. This was also pointed out in a question to the government at the National Assembly.Moreover, if you explicitly instructed to ‘drop the charges’, it would be a clear intervention in the investigation and would be in direct conflict with the Military Court Act. As mentioned earlier, the Military Court Act stipulates that if a military investigative agency becomes ‘aware of’ a crime, it shall be transferred to a civilian investigative agency. And according to the Ministry of National Defense’s instructions, a form is prepared to write down the suspect’s name of crime and the facts of the crime in the recognition notification form.

Other investigative agencies also require the criminal record to contain the suspect’s personal information, summary of the crime, name of crime, and applicable laws. It’s so natural. How can we recognize a crime without the suspect and the details of the charges? Attorney Kim Jeong-min, the legal representative of Colonel Park Jeong-hoon, said in an opinion submitted to the military prosecutor’s office, “The instruction not to specify the facts of the charge ultimately means not to file a crime, and this is a clear, direct, and blatant ‘obstruction of the investigation’ and ‘intervention in the investigation.’ “It corresponds to,” he pointed out.

Whether it is an order to reexamine the Minister of National Defense, which revealed a complacent view on the safety of soldiers

, or an order to drop the charges, it is clear that the intention is to somehow place responsibility on high-ranking commands, such as division commanders. This is the same attitude the military has shown so far regarding deaths that have occurred in the military. Such intentions can also be seen in Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-seop’s answer to a question to the government at the National Assembly.

Minister Lee’s comment is that it was not a mistake to send soldiers without safety gear into the rapids because it was an urgent situation. They believe that their superiors are not responsible for Corporal Chae’s death. Even if the division commander ordered an unreasonable search operation, it is not considered manslaughter. Should the Minister of National Defense or a military commander take the lives of his soldiers so lightly? Can you win the battle with this kind of judgment? The feelings of parents who have sent their children to the military and who will have to send them in the future are inexplicable and helpless. This alone disqualifies him from being Minister of Defense. It is in the same context that we pay attention to President Yoon Seok-yeol’s remarks in

MBC’s ‘Exploration Planning Straight’ report. It is said that he reprimanded the Minister of National Defense by saying, ‘If even the division commander is punished for something like this, who in the Republic of Korea can become the division commander?’ If this is true, then the President, the Minister of National Defense, and the division commander are all ignoring the lives of soldiers.

Why are the 2nd Deputy Director of the National Security Office and the Secretary of National Defense replaced amid controversy over intervention in the Presidential Office?

It is still controversial whether the President intervened in this way. There is a newly noteworthy fact related to this. Among the instructions from the Minister of National Defense that appear in the military prosecutor’s request for an arrest warrant for Colonel Park, there is also this part.

“The minister must report the results of the investigation after the current affairs report on August 9.”

Common sense dictates that the only place for the Minister of National Defense to report is the Office of the President. We can guess that the President’s Office was interested in the outcome of this case. Considering the series of circumstances, it seems plausible that there was a reprimand from the President, that the Minister of Defense ordered안전놀이터 the charges to be dropped, and that the final results were reported to the President’s Office.

The recent response from the President’s Office is also enough to amplify doubts. The President’s Office announced on the 4th that it had decided to replace National Security Office Second Deputy Director Lim Jong-deuk and National Defense Secretary Lim Ki-hoon at the same time. Coincidentally, these two people are key figures in uncovering the truth of this incident. Second Vice Admiral Lim Jong-deuk spoke on the phone with the Marine Corps Commander, and Secretary Lim Ki-hoon received information related to the investigation from the Marine Corps. It is unusual to replace two key officials of the National Security Office at the same time. In addition, there are even rumors of a replacement for the Minister of National Defense.

Colonel Park’s “secret weapon is the truth”

Colonel Park, who raised suspicions of external pressure, is determined to reveal the truth until the end. After his arrest warrant was dismissed, Colonel Park appeared again at the military prosecutor’s office on the 5th and was investigated. Let’s listen to what our legal representative, Attorney Jeong Kwan-young, has to say.In fact, no matter how you look at it, there is no reason for Colonel Park to make up false suspicions of external pressure.The Democratic Party of Korea proposed the Special Prosecutor Act on the 7th. The Special Prosecution Act stipulates that the investigation targets abuse of power and related illegal acts such as concealment, silence, and appeasement by the President’s Office, the Ministry of National Defense, the Marine Corps Command, and the Gyeongbuk Provincial Police Agency, along with the investigation into the circumstances surrounding Corporal Chae’s death on the line. The 24 Democratic lawmakers who sponsor the bill emphasized, “We will use all means to reveal the truth about the accident in which a Marine died in the line of duty and the external pressure that covered it up, and we will ensure that judicial action is taken against all those who participated in the external pressure.” The Justice Party also takes the position that a special prosecution is necessary.In a previous question to the government, impeachment of the president was even mentioned.We take a look back at the core of this incident: can national defense duty be sacred even after covering up the truth of Corporal Chae’s death ? That is the truth about Corporal Chae’s death. This is to answer the question of why a 20-year-old young man who went to the military to fulfill his sacred duty of national defense had to sacrifice himself in vain. Suspicions of external pressure on the part of the Minister of National Defense, and further suspicions of intervention by the President’s Office, are obstacles to moving forward with the truth about Corporal Chae’s death. That is why it must be clarified. This is because the results of the investigation into the death of Corporal Chae in the line of duty cannot be trusted unless suspicions of external pressure are resolved.We must do whatever it takes to get the truth about Corporal Chae’s death. If we fail to do so, we will not be able to protect the precious lives of young people who bear the duty of national defense and the constitutional meaning of the duty of national defense. Therefore, anyone who interferes with the discovery of the truth will not be exempt from responsibility for violating the law and committing unconstitutional acts.

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