Legal Administration 2
The Second Republic that came into being as a result of the Revolution of April 19, 1960, replaced the presidential system with a parliamentary one, and installed the positions of Parliamentary Vice Minister and Permanent Vice Minister in the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), while leaving the rest of the Ministry’s organization intact. The amendment of the National Government Organization Act (NGOA), however, led to the transfer of the Office of Legislation to the Secretariat for the State Council. This last move reflected the growing desire of the Second Republic to reorganize and enhance government functions centered on the Cabinet, not the President. Similarly, the Office of Public Affairs that had been in the Blue House was also transferred to the Secretariat for the State Council.
Not much transformation took place in the prosecutorial organization, except for the creation of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) as part of the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office in 1961. Although the Prosecutors Office Act of 1949 and the Office Regulations for the Central Investigation Bureau of the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of 1951 demanded such a bureau be set up, it came into being only after the Democratic Party rose to power and as part of governmental efforts to quell escalating ideological conflicts involving communist and revolutionary groups. Thus Prime Minister Jang Myeon explicitly called for the creation of the CIB in his administrative policy address to the House of Representatives in 1960.
3. Third Republic
The Military Revolution Council (MRC) that rose to power through the military coup d’état
of 1961 instructed the Minister of Justice on the new rules of processing judicial affairs, and ordered him to develop and submit a code of practice that would ensure expedited and fair judicial administration in a manner that accorded with the “revolutionary spirit.” In 1962, the MOJ undertook a major reform of its general legal and judicial tasks and discarded all the ineffective laws and rules that had been enacted or promoted since the days of the First Republic. The basic legal foundation of Korea became stronger with the enactment and amendment of the Commerce Act, the Criminal Procedure Act, and other such fundamental statutes.
Border control, which had been the purview of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) until the last days of the Second Republic, was newly placed under the authority of the MOJ. The transfer of border control to the MOJ also meant increased complexity and elaborateness in border control administration over and beyond the issuance of passports. Overseen by the MOJ, border control now entailed a much wider scope of activities, including the screening of foreigners’ entry and exit, reviews of foreigner eligibility to stay in Korea, compulsory eviction and other such activities of a quasi-judicial nature, foreigner registration, and other services relating to citizenship and nationality.
The Human Rights Advocacy Division was newly installed as part of the prosecutorial administration with a view to enhancing the protection of human rights.
The Human Rights Counseling Center in the Prosecutor’s Office also gained greater support and responsibility. The ROK-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) also enabled Korea to bring American soldiers to civil and criminal trials for alleged losses and damage resulting from their crimes. The Penal Bureau was reorganized into the Correction Bureau,
with the rehabilitative and democratic aspects of prison sentences taking precedence over retribution. Employment training centers were opened in correctional facilities to enhance the rehabilitative prospects of inmates, and a special account was created for better, more rational operation of correctional facilities.
The military government also created the National Planning System with the slogan “Modernizing the nation,” and amended the NGOA in August 1961, creating the position of Planning and Coordination Officer in each ministry or department to assist ministers and vice ministers with the planning, coordination, review, and analysis of policy measures.
The introduction of the Planning and Coordination Officer effectively abolished the parliamentary system positions of Vice Minister and Permanent Vice Minister. The Planning Office in each ministry or department later came to include the Planned Budget Officer and the Administrative Management Officer (February 1970). The military government additionally set up the Emergency Planning Committee in 1969, ostensibly for the purposes of preparing for possible national emergencies, and required each ministry or department to set up its own emergency planning unit, thus leading the MOJ to create the position of Emergency Planning Officer who reported to the Planning and Coordination Officer.
In March 1967, the Legal Affairs Bureau was elevated into the Legal Affairs Office.
The Litigation Officer was newly appointed to oversee litigation system (involving the state as a party) reform and expedite the process of recovering lost state properties.
4. Fourth Republic
The Fourth Republic arose amid a series of tumultuous political events. The President made a special declaration in October 1972, dismissing the National Assembly. Some of the key provisions of the Constitution were now declared defunct, and a nominal referendum was held to amend the Constitution, which enabled President Park to be reelected for an indefinite term not by the people, but by the National Council for Unification. Thus the Fourth Republic came into being, promoting the values of peaceful reunification and “Korean-style democracy.” In particular, it set out to achieve a perfect national consensus, economic growth and stability, and national security, and tied bureaucratic and social reform campaigns with national security.
Charged with the mission of upholding national law and order and realizing social justice therein, the MOJ came to take leadership over the pan-governmental reform campaign. It launched rigorous propagandistic and educational campaigns to boost internal morale, set up the Legal Practice Purification Council to impose reforms on the legal community outside the government, and zealously brought corrupt public officials to justice.
As students and citizens came to wage return-to-democracy campaigns and movements against the authoritarian government, and the Blue House sought to quell growing social unrest by releasing a series of emergency measures intended to keep the President in power, the legitimacy and functions of the MOJ suffered significant damage and distortions.
The Social Security Act (SSA), enacted in 1975, prescribed extreme measures against individuals convicted of crimes against the state in an attempt to prevent them from committing those crimes again and as a warning to left-leaning individuals. The organizational reforms demanded by the SSA led the Prosecution Bureau to gain four new divisions—prosecution divisions 1, 2, 3, and 4. The existing Human Rights Advocacy Division was renamed as the Human Rights Division,
and transferred to the Office of Legislation. Job performance evaluations began to be carried out on prosecutors and employees in prosecutors’ offices, apparently for the purposes of enhancing productivity. Important security documents were reformatted using standardized templates to enable the more efficient detection and handling of anti-state offenders.
The Correction Planning Officer was newly appointed to the Correction Bureau to coordinate the Bureau’s tasks, plan for legal and correctional facilities, and assist the Bureau head in monitoring operations. In response to the increase in the number of the incarcerated, the Security Division newly came into being to handle inmate-related issues and security equipment maintenance matters formerly handled by the Correction Division. The Planning Division was also renamed as the Work Rehabilitation Division.
The border control administration system was reformed and the number of states subject to visa exemption was increased in the 1970s to simplify the border control process in light of the increasing number of foreign visitors. In addition to setting up the Immigration Office, the government also appointed the Border Control Officer in 1976, who reported to the head of the Border Control Bureau. Government employees working in border control were now regarded as security, not administrative, employees.
Law and Legislation: 1980-1997
The Information Division in the Prosecution Bureau was renamed the Human Rights Advocacy Division and made responsible for investigating alleged human rights violations, monitoring and coordinating human rights groups, providing litigation-related assistance and other forms of support for the poor, and handling tasks involving criminal rehabilitation.
The Penal Bureau and Penal Division were renamed the Correction Bureau and the Correction Division, respectively, and the term “prison” was replaced with “correctional facility.”
The position of the Planning and Coordination Officer in each ministry or department was renamed as the Office of the Planning and Coordination Officer in June 1962. The Office was renamed as the Office of Planning and Coordination in December 1963, and administrative management and policy planning designated as its core duties.
Such a change was deemed necessary not only to facilitate litigation processes involving the state as a party, but also to handle the increasing litigation-related workload, including damages claimed by the U.S. government upon the effectuation of the SOFA, and the growing demand for general legal and administrative services.
Referred to as the Litigation Execution Officer until 1971, this Officer was in charge of downsizing the required MOJ litigation-related staff, devising general plans for litigation administration, and conducting research into lawsuits in cooperation with the Litigation Division.
The new division handled human rights cases without criminal or prosecutorial elements, as well as citizenship services transferred from the Legal Affairs Division.
Korea Institute of Public Administration. 2008. Korean Public Administration, 1948-2008, Edited by Korea Institute of Public Administration. Pajubookcity: Bobmunsa