Friday, January 9, 2009

轉載: Chen Judges Bungle Their Chance 經手陳水扁案法官錯失展現台灣司法公正透明之機會(updated)


由於中時已有中文版, 我就不翻譯了. 感想後補
Chen Judges Bungle Their Chance
Jerome A. Cohen, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia Studies
January 8, 2009South China Morning Post

When analysing the experience of the US Supreme Court, the late Charles Evans Hughes (chief justice 1930-39) commented: "The gravest wounds are self-inflicted." Taiwan's courts should reflect on that wisdom. The prosecution of former president Chen Shui-bian has not even come to trial. Yet his judges have already bungled the historic opportunity Chen's case presents for the judiciary to confirm its independence, impartiality and competence.

The vibrant democracy for which so many in Taiwan have struggled is in trouble. Corruption threatens the integrity of the political system. This cancer cannot be controlled without a credible, fair and transparent judicial system to enforce the law.

Following Chen's November 11 arrest, despite the deep political divisions and partisan suspicions of Taiwanese society, the prosecution's detailed allegations of massive corruption by Chen, his family and colleagues had prepared the public to accept the prospect of their guilt and punishment.

Their convictions after proceedings perceived to be fair would vindicate the values of clean government, deter potential wrongdoers and heighten confidence in courts that began to free themselves from decades of authoritarian Kuomintang government fewer than 20 years ago.

Unfortunately, recent court proceedings have mocked that promise. Unless some unexpected, bold action restores public confidence, convictions of Chen and his associates will enhance popular cynicism and deny the courts the broad support required by any successful judiciary.
What happened? Chinese have traditionally emphasised substantive criminal law - guilt or innocence - rather than procedure.

Yet, recent events, reflecting Taiwan's gradual transition from an inquisitorial to an adversarial system, focused attention on two related sets of criminal process issues: pre-trial detention and the merger of separate prosecutions.

The battle between Taipei District Court Judge Chou Chan-chun's three-judge panel - which twice took the unusual step of ordering Chen's release without bail, pending trial - and Taiwan's High Court - which twice reversed that decision - only ended when the case against the Chen group, originally assigned by lot to Judge Chou's panel, was merged into the earlier prosecution of Chen's wife for embezzling special state funds. That case is being handled by Judge Tsai Shou-hsun's panel.

The transfer made it possible for Judge Tsai to preside over Chen's third post-indictment detention hearing. His panel ordered Chen's return to detention, in a decision that contradicted the spirit of the Council of Grand Justices' Interpretation No653, issued several days earlier. The interpretation eloquently emphasised that the criminally accused should only be detained when no other measures suffice. Although this time Chen is not being handcuffed and held incommunicado, as he was for 32 days before indictment, any conversations with visiting family and even his lawyers can be monitored and used as evidence against him, and them!

Detained defendants are obviously hampered in preparing their defence in other ways, such as by discussing the case with co-defendants and witnesses, which was one of the prosecution's two main fears if Chen remained free pending trial. The other is that, if released, Chen might flee Taiwan. Judge Tsai could have released Chen under high bail and residential restrictions that made flight unlikely. Chen's incentive to flee will increase if he is convicted at trial. Does this mean he will continue to be detained if he appeals against any conviction? This would mean incarceration for years before final conviction.

At what point does the presumption of innocence become meaningless and pre-conviction detention morph into punishment for a crime not finally proved?

The dilemmas of a defendant's detention before final conviction plague every country. More distinctive to Taiwan are the unresolved mysteries surrounding the recent merger of the Chen group's case into the embezzlement case brought against his wife in 2006 - a time when Chen, although involved, still enjoyed presidential immunity from prosecution.

If such a merger was necessary, why was it not effected when the indictment against the Chen group was issued? Instead, the district court decided that the new indictment, which featured money-laundering and other complex charges - plus the earlier embezzlement charge against Chen - should be assigned to a separate judicial panel by lottery.

The lottery was limited to the few panels deemed more specialised than Judge Tsai's for dealing with complex financial transactions. How, then, can the court justify the subsequent assignment to Judge Tsai? Can the random assignment of cases essential to judicial neutrality be so easily circumvented?

According to the court's official press releases, assignment to Judge Tsai by the court's merger review panel followed court rules. Yet that review process could only be initiated by request of the judge in charge of the later case. Why did Judge Chou make that request? Was he pressured to do so? Why did the review panel not accept his proposal to transfer to Judge Tsai only that part of the group indictment relating to the embezzlement case against Chen and his wife, leaving the more complex accusations to Judge Chou's panel, as the court originally intended? Why did the review panel consist of merely five of the relevant criminal division chiefs? Why did the merger issue only become salient after the second time Judge Chou ordered Chen's release? Was this entire non-transparent process the court's response to angry public criticism of Judge Chou? Did any politician intimidate the court with secret threats?

Answers to such questions will eventually emerge. More immediately, is there any way to guarantee the Chen group and the public a judicial process that will have both the appearance and the reality of justice? Why doesn't Judge Tsai, who reportedly did not want to take on the new case, withdraw from handling all but the earlier embezzlement charges against the Chens? Then the district court can return to its original intent and again select by lot a judicial panel of financial specialists to deal with the complex accusations of the new case.

The new panel might even approve another application for Chen's release pending trial, with high bail and strict residential restrictions. Then both trials could proceed with broad public support. Justice, as the saying goes, must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done. That is the price of judicial legitimacy.

Jerome A. Cohen is co-director of NYU's US-Asia Law Institute and adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations

美國前聯邦首席大法官查爾斯.休斯(Charles Evans Hughes)在分析美國聯邦最高法院的經驗時曾言道:「(最高法院)最重大的傷害均是自我招致的。」台灣的法院應省思此句充滿智慧的經驗談。雖然對陳水扁前總統的追訴法院尚未開庭審理,但經手本案的法官們已然貽誤了陳案所提供的歷史良機去證明司法的獨立、公正與能力。

可惜的是,近來之司法程序進行著實令人對此等期望落空。除非法院能有一些出人意表的英勇舉措來回復其公信力,對陳以及其他涉案人的定罪將只會招致更多的公開批判嘲諷,使法院無法取得成功司法所必需的廣泛支持。此乃因中國傳統上強調刑事法的實體即有罪無罪的判定而非程序。然而,近來相關的事件發展卻令人聚焦於兩個相關聯之刑事程序爭議:審前羈押與公訴審理之合併,此等爭議亦反映出台灣的刑事訴訟程序制度正逐漸由職權進行主義(inquisitorial system)轉向當事人進行主義(adversarial system)。
根據台北地院的官方新聞稿,將後案之審理合併予蔡庭長審理之前案乃是刑事庭庭長會議依照台北地方法院刑事庭分案要點召開刑事庭案件審核小組決議的結論。然而,依該要點第十條規定,簽請審核小組決定的主動權在後案的承辦法官。周庭長為何為該請求?是否有何壓力迫使其為此請求?為何審核小組未接受其僅將後案中國務機要費相關部分移轉合併於蔡庭長的前案審理,而將後案中其餘較複雜的部分如法院原先之決定般由其所屬金融專庭審理的最初提議?為何審核小組僅由五位刑庭庭長組成?為何合併的議題在周庭長第二次釋放陳後才浮現?此等不透明的程序是否為該法院針對部分媒體以及國民黨立委強烈批判之回應?有無政治人物脅迫該法院對案件為如此安排? [1]
此等問題之答案早晚會變明朗。相較之下,目前比較迫切的問題應是:有無其他方式保證給陳案被告以及社會大眾一個兼具形式與實質正義的司法程序?如果蔡庭長如媒體所報導般原先並無意承接後案的審理,其何不退出後案中與國務機要費案無關起訴之審理?如此,則台北地院可以遂其原本之決定,並再次抽籤決定由一個金融專庭來審理後案中較為複雜的罪嫌。此新審理庭亦能再次審酌解除審理中羈押陳之聲請,如其決定釋放陳,應加以鉅額保釋金以及嚴格的限制住居之解押條件。 [1]

(孔傑榮Jerome A. Cohen,紐約大學法學院亞美法研究所共同主任,「外交關係協會」兼任資深研究員/紐約大學法學院亞美法研究所研究員宋名晰編譯)

註: 《星期專訪》黃瑞華︰司法若毀 台灣將有危險 裡也有類似的法律見解--

想要合併,就要找依據,因而找出第十條出來,說為了訴訟經濟、避免裁判歧異;至於兩個法官協商,是要兩個人都認為有必要才協商,但在當時狀況下,這件事是被壓迫的,不是周占春自己要的,他已開兩次庭,不是一分下來就說「我不要辦」,他沒有這樣做,據了解,他也訂了庭期,訂庭期就表示要審理,沒有認為合併審理的必要。 不排除周占春是在壓力下才簽出案件,這樣的過程就不公平、程序不正義。]

關於併案的問題, 在同一個專訪裡黃提到: "台大教授王兆鵬文章很值得參考,他提出三策,上策是蔡守訓停止審判,對其取得審判權的合法性聲請釋憲,中策是高等法院將案件移轉管轄,下策是蔡聲請迴避,案子重新分案。"
Taiwan’s Justice On Trial by Julian Baum(Posted December 5, 2008)
ROC Judiciary Blasted: Day of Democracy Commentary
Taiwan on trial(), ()

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