Home News Constitutional Court rejects impeachment trial for ‘judicial nongdan’ Im Seong-geun

Constitutional Court rejects impeachment trial for ‘judicial nongdan’ Im Seong-geun

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“Im, you can’t dismiss it after the term of office is over”
5 out of 9 judges rejected the majority opinion
3 cited “damaging trust in court involvement”

On the 28th, the Constitutional Court dismissed the National Assembly’s request for an impeachment trial against former Busan High Court Judge Im Seong-geun (pictured). It has been eight months since the National Assembly decided to impeach a judge for the first time in constitutional history on February 4 this year.

The Constitutional Court said, “As for former Chief Judge Im, who has already retired due to the expiration of his term (March 1 this year), even if he proceeds to judge the merits, he cannot make a decision to dismiss (for public officials), so it is inappropriate for the National Assembly to file for an impeachment trial.” The decision to dismiss was made by a majority opinion of 5 out of 9 people. In order to remove a judge, at least 6 out of 9 judges must provide a quote, but only 3 judges have a quoted opinion.

Four judges, including Lee Seon-ae, Lee Eun-ae, Lee Jong-seok, and Lee Young-jin, expressed their disapproval opinion, saying, “According to the Constitution and the Constitutional Court, an impeachment decision merely removes a person from a public office, and it is absolutely required that the respondent hold that office until the time of sentencing.” Because he retired from public office, he has no interest in adjudicating the impeachment request.” Judge Lee Seon-mi rejected the opinion, saying, “Under the current Constitutional Law, if a person retires due to the expiration of his term, it cannot but be regarded as not meeting the requirements for a trial, so legislative reform is necessary.”

Judge Moon Hyung-bae was the only judge to end the trial, saying, “Ex-Chief Judge Im retired after the expiration of his term and did not have the qualifications to become a respondent, so the trial process should be terminated.” On the other hand, three people, including Chief Justice Yoo Nam-seok and Judge Lee Seok-tae Kim Ki-young, made citations. Yu and others said, “Ex-Chief Judge Lim’s involvement in the trial while serving as Chief Criminal Division Chief Judge of the Seoul Central District Court undermined trust in the independence and fairness of the trial. As he cannot be dismissed from office, it is merely confirming that the actions of former Chief Justice Lim constitute a serious violation of the Constitution.” Immediately after the sentencing, Lim said, “I express my gratitude and respect to the Constitutional Court for making a reasonable decision based on the law. Regardless of the reason, I apologize for causing unnecessary misunderstandings and debates and causing concern to many people.” At a press conference, Rep. Lee Tan-hee of the Minjoo Party, who had proposed the impeachment charge, criticized “the majority opinion has given up its role as a constitutional defender by evading judgment on the merits.”

Prior to this, 161 members of the National Assembly impeached Lim in February this year for intervening in the trial of former Sankei Shimbun reporter Tatsuya Kato, who was indicted for writing a column about former President Park Geun-hye’s so-called ‘Seven Hours of Sewol’. passed the indictment. Supreme Court Chief Justice Kim Myung-soo became controversial when he remarked, “If you repair it, you can’t talk about impeachment (at the National Assembly).” After the Constitutional Court sentenced, the Supreme Court made no position. Former Chief Judge Im was acquitted in the first and second criminal trials on the same suspicion, and an appeal trial is ongoing.

Reporter Sang-Jun Park [email protected] Go to reporter page>
By Kim Tae-seong, staff reporter [email protected]

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