前陣子看到一些司法改革愈改愈回去的新聞我就一直在等,等孔傑榮會不會對此作文章. 針對制度面提出見解比針對個案重要且全面,不幸的是阿扁這個個案雖然凸顯問題所在,但此個案之特殊性往往模糊焦點. 由其司法系統幾次試圖追殺扁案的被告律師(見此),這問題實在很難讓人相信司法的公正性. 這在幾次國際學者給的公開信裡也都有所提及. 總之,現在終於等到這篇了!
TAIWAN’S CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS AND CHINA’S Jan 20th, 2010 | By USAsialawNYU | Category: Jerome A. Cohen's Blog
An edited version of this text appeared in English in the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) on January 20, 2010 under the title “Under Threat,” and appeared in Chinese on January 21, in the China Times (Taiwan) (繁體中文).
by Jerome A. Cohen and Yu-Jie Chen
The Chinese government’s continuing attacks on human rights lawyers rarely make foreign headlines these days. Monitoring, intimidating, disbarring and prosecuting activist lawyers have become routine in China. Even the tragic “disappearance” while in police custody of defense lawyer/political reformer Gao Zhisheng–now feared to be dead–hardly attracts attention.
It is also unremarkable for even non-political Chinese defense lawyers to suffer sanctions. The recent conviction of Beijing lawyer Li Zhuang for allegedly counseling his client to lie and bribe witnesses would not have been noted abroad if the case had not involved Chongqing’s extraordinary campaign to suppress organized crime.
By contrast, the Taiwan government’s new interest in curbing vigorous defense lawyers does constitute “news”. Although Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-Jeou recently took the occasion of the island’s Law Day to call for greater government efforts to promote judicial reform and human rights, his Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has been moving in the opposite direction.
Last year, the Ministry, concerned about the conduct of ex-president Chen Shui-Bian’s defense lawyers in its ongoing corruption prosecutions against him, failed in its efforts to impose disciplinary sanctions against one of Chen’s lawyers for supposed ethical violations. Now it is trying to introduce legislation to punish “obstructions of justice” that will inevitably restrict defense lawyers’ activities.
The MOJ has proposed to amend the criminal code in several ways that threaten the modified adversarial legal system that Taiwan adopted a decade ago. Instead of supporting the equal contest between prosecutors and defense lawyers on which that system is based, the MOJ proposals, reflecting traditional Chinese distrust of defense lawyers, would subject Taiwan’s lawyers to some of the same dangers confronted by their counterparts in China, including significant prison time.
One amendment would punish anyone, including lawyers, for abetting defendants or others to “fabricate, alter, destroy or conceal” important evidence in criminal cases, even when their advice has been ignored and caused no harm! Further, it would punish anyone for abetting defendants to make false statements concerning important facts in trial or investigation. Thus, if a court rejects the defendant’s claim that his pre-trial confession was coerced by police, his lawyers might be prosecuted for having urged him to repudiate the confession. This “Sword of Damocles” hangs over Mainland lawyers, sometimes intimidating them from giving such advice, despite the prevalence of pre-trial torture.
修正草案其中一條擬處罰「使」被告或他人「偽造、變造、湮滅或隱匿」於刑事案件「有重要關係之證據」之行為，處罰對象包括一般人和律師。草案針對的是唆使行為，即使是被唆使的人沒有著手實施犯罪，也沒有任何實害發生，唆使行為也會成罪！此外，草案也懲罰「使被告」於審判或偵查時「就案情有重要關係之事項為虛偽陳述」之行為。如此一來，如果被告抗辯說審判前的自白是警方刑求而來，但法院不予採信的話，被告律師可能會因為建議被告推翻自白而被起訴。在中國大陸，這樣的風險像「達摩克里斯之劍（Sword of Damocles）」一樣，長期懸在律師的頭上，時刻威脅著律師，因此，即使刑訊逼供在中國相當普遍，律師有時也不敢建議當事人提出刑求抗辯。
Equally troublesome is the proposal to punish “illegitimate use” of important evidence outside of court. But what use is “illegitimate” and what evidence is “important”? The MOJ has stated that the provision is meant, among other things, to prevent documents from public trials being revealed at press conferences. Yet this would prevent freedom of speech and information essential to monitoring of the judicial process by the media and the people. Such restrictions, to the extent they exist in other democratic societies, are generally justified by the need to protect jury deliberations against media pressures, but Taiwan has no juries.
Even more problematic is the proposal to punish lawyers not only for contempt of court but also for contempt of prosecutors! Legal systems require effective and fair procedures for punishing refusal to heed reasonable court orders. But, in a system where lawyers and prosecutors are supposed to be equal competitors in their efforts to persuade a neutral judge, it is ludicrous to punish lawyers for failing to obey prosecutors.
MOJ officials do not seem to realize that, under Taiwan’s new adversarial system, for most purposes prosecutors can no longer be regarded as members of the “judiciary”. Their status and functions are very different from those of judges.
The proposals–not yet submitted to the legislature–have understandably aroused strong opposition from the legal profession. Although the MOJ has stressed that the proposals are not targeted at lawyers, they will have an adverse impact upon lawyers’ defense work. If they are enacted, Taiwan is sure to be further downgraded in the civil liberties ratings of major non-governmental organizations such as Freedom House, a strong American supporter that last week criticized recent setbacks in the island’s protection of criminal defendants’ rights.
It is far from clear that additional restrictions on defense lawyers are needed to guard against “obstructions of justice” in Taiwan. The MOJ has cited no empirical studies to show that existing laws and ethical rules are inadequate. Moreover, the vague language of each proposed criminal prohibition is an invitation to abuse and confusion that would inhibit the robust defense lawyering that a fair justice system requires.
Every country needs effective administration of justice. Yet, every country also needs vigorous lawyers to check abuses of the criminal process. If these MOJ proposals are enacted, the plight of Taiwan’s defense lawyers may begin to resemble that of their Chinese counterparts.