Supreme Court chief justice nominee Jo Hee-de has advocated for careful consideration on the imposition of the death penalty while believing that it is premature to abolish the punishment.
In a written response to questions by the parliamentary confirmation hearing committee released on Sunday, Jo said the symbolism of the penalty as reflected in the public’s sentiment about retribution cannot be ignored.
He added, however, that handing down the death penalty, which has not been invoked in 26 years, should be carefully decided while achieving a social consensus on its validity.
As for abolishing the National Security Act, the nominee said it would also be premature to scrap key parts necessary in defending national security or constitutional orders, such as basic orders of free democracy, based on the confrontational state of inter-Korean relations.
Jo picked a delay in trials as the most urgent issue to be resolved within the judiciary, calling for measures that allow courts to handle a greater number of cases by increasing the number of judges.
Asked about permitting judges to question suspects prior to the issuance of a search warrant, a legal step strongly opposed by investigative agencies, Jo called for sufficient review of the matter while preserving investigative integrity and speed.
As a supplementary step to the existing pre-trial detention system, the nominee proposed a conditions-based system that requires suspects who are standing trial without detention to wear electronic tracking devices as well as the issuance of a restraining order against them.