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DPP Statement on the September 11 verdict of former President Chen Shui-bian

September 15, 2009

Democratic Progressive Party Statement Concerning
The September 11 verdict of former President Chen

1. Taiwan is a democratic country and in dealing with former President Chen’s case, the judicial process should be objective and follow legal principles, avoiding any subjective political bias, in order to safeguard Taiwan’s democratic values. We can see that during this first trial the process contained flaws and disputes, such as the extended pre-trial detention and the changing of judges, clearly in violation of procedural justice. Given such procedural flaws and controversies, such a heavy sentence confirms doubts from the outside and makes it hard to convince people that the judicial process is trustworthy.

2. The same judge presided over the cases of former President Chen’s state affairs fund and then-Mayor Ma Ying-jeou’s special affairs fund. Former President Chen was given a sentence of life imprisonment while President Ma was found not-guilty. It is difficult for the public to accept such an inconsistency in the outcome of the two verdicts.

3. The DPP maintains expectations of the overall judicial system, but it expresses its deep regret concerning the trial process and outcome. The DPP supports former President Chen’s defense of his legal rights in the appeal and upcoming legal procedures. At the same time, we also expect that the unfairness and errors of the first trial will be closely supervised and corrected during the appeal process.

4. The DPP believes that there is no necessity to detain former President Chen after this first trial. We demand an end to his detention, so as allow him to exercise his full legal rights and prepare for his defense.

5. In regards to the selection of judges for the appeal, we ask the High Court to be transparent and open, in accordance with the law and under the supervision of the public.

6. We appeal to all, especially the ruling party, not to attempt to exploit the case of former President Chen to turn the public spotlight away from government incompetence. We also appeal to the outside world to avoid provocative remarks that would deepen the emotional antagonisms of the public.

7. Whether standing for or against former President Chen, one must honestly point out that the proceedings of the judicial system contained defects, which allowed political interference in the judicial system as well as the prejudiced sentencing by the judges. In addition, we also saw the continued detention of former President Chen causing harm to human rights in this country. We hope that our society can now focus on judicial human rights and jointly support judicial reform.

8. As the KMT holds a 75% majority in the Legislative Yuan, we demand that in his role as KMT Chair President Ma take responsibility to support and promote amendment of the “Code of Criminal Procedure” and “Judges Law” for the reform and rectification of human rights violations in the detention system and also to eliminate unsuitable judges. Last year the DPP put forward an amendment to the “Code of Criminal Procedure”, and we ask that in the shortest time possible, this amendment be passed.

9. We wish to make clear that honesty and clean politics are core values of the Democratic Progressive Party and the basis upon which people place their trust in politicians. Whether or not a politician or political party has been honest and practiced clean politics must be judged through a fair administration of justice and a clear set of standards. The people of Taiwan have placed high expectations in the DPP, which the DPP must treasure. In regards to former President Chen’s action of remitting funds overseas and mixing his public and private funds, the DPP considers this to be in violation of the DPP’s clean politics regulations. Regarding former President Chen’s management of political donations and disputed relations with the business community, the DPP believes it fails to meet society’s expectations. In regards to his family members, former President Chen was negligent in restraining their behavior that drew negative criticisms from the public. The DPP maintains that for these errors, former President Chen must take political responsibility.

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