Point-by-Point Summary of Constitutional Court's Ruling against Park Geun-hye

Point-by-Point Summary of Constitutional Court's Ruling against Park Geun-hye

SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) -- The following are the main points of the Constitutional Court's Friday adjudication on the Dec. 9 parliament impeachment that removed Park Geun-hye from the presidential office. The court unanimously decided for Park's removal. 

   -- Most confidential documents, including ones on personnel administration data, Cabinet meetings, Park's overseas trips and her meeting with the U.S. secretary of state, were conveyed to Park's confidante Choi Soon-sil between around January 2013 and April 2016 via Park's secretary Jeong Ho-seong.

   -- Choi meddled in presidential affairs by giving opinions on the documents, modifying their content and rescheduling Park's itineraries.

   -- Choi recommended candidates for government posts, with some of them helping Choi's personal interests.

   -- At Choi's request, Park instructed former presidential economic adviser Ahn Jong-beom to ask Hyundai Automotive Group to hire KD Corp., an auto parts company, as its subcontractor.

   -- Park also ordered Ahn to take 48.6 billion won (US$41.99 million) and 28.8 billion won of donations from conglomerates to set up the Mir and K-Sport foundations, respectively.

   -- However, Park and Choi made all decisions in relation to the management of the foundations while excluding businesses, which funded the foundations.

   -- Choi took personal profits from Mir via the ad company Play Ground, which she established just before the launch of the foundation.

   -- Park held a one-on-one meeting with the head of Lotte Group over providing money to build sports facilities in Hanam, east of Seoul. Lotte later provided 7 billion won. 

   -- Park infringed upon the Constitution, Public Servants Law and Public Servants' Ethics as she abused her status and power for Choi's interests, which constitutes an unfair performance of official duty.

   -- Park infringed upon the freedom of corporate management, as well as corporate property rights, by directly and indirectly providing help in Choi's pursuit of interest.

   -- Via instructions or neglect, Park breached an obligation to keep secrets under the Public Servants Law by leaking lots of documents that belong to the confidential category.'

   On whether Park's illegal acts are grave enough to face dismissal

   -- The president not only shall exercise his or her authority based on the Constitution and law but receive public estimates by transparently making public his or her official business.

   -- Despite that, Park thoroughly concealed Choi's interference with state affairs, denied it whenever suspicions on it were raised and rather criticized the accusations. Such acts made constitutional organs like the National Assembly unable to properly exercise checks on state affairs and the press unable to operate its monitoring system properly.

   -- Park also got involved in or supported Choi's pursuit of personal benefits in relation to the foundations and Choi's companies.

   -- Despite questions raised by the National Assembly and news media, such acts against the Constitution and laws were persistently committed over Park's presidency, and acts to conceal facts and crack down on those raising accusations were persistently committed. As a consequence, a grave situation, in which such figures as Ahn and Jeong were detained on charges of corruption, took place.

   -- Park's unconstitutional and unlawful acts harmed the principle of the representative democracy and the spirit of constitutionalism.'

   On Park's will to guard Constitution 

   -- Park promised to cooperate in the prosecution and independent counsel's probes into the case via her public statements, and yet she did not comply with their investigations and refused to allow them to search the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

   -- A series of Park's remarks and acts in relation to reasons for impeachment show that Park had no will to protect the Constitution.

   -- Conclusively, Park's violations of the Constitution and laws should be viewed as a grave illegal act that cannot be tolerated from the perspective of guarding the Constitution.

   -- As such violations have grave, negative and ripple effects on the order of the Constitution, interest of guarding the Constitution by firing Park is judged to be overwhelmingly great.

   -- Therefore, the court, in a unanimous decision, declared the dismissal of Park Geun-hye as president. 

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   The following are the court's ruling on each major charge the National Assembly brought against Park.'

   1) Letting Choi meddle in state affairs, abuse of power -- upheld

   The court accepted most of the findings of a prosecution investigation, which revealed that numerous official documents, including state secrets, were leaked from the presidential office to Choi and that Park helped the woman establish foundations she later used to collect "donations" from local conglomerates, including Samsung Group.

   The court ruled that Park abused her status and power for Choi's personal gains. Her actions were not a fair execution of official duty and violated the Constitution, the Public Servants Law and Public Servants' Ethics to the extent that she deserves to be unseated.'

   2) Abuse of presidential powers to appoint, dismiss public officials -- rejected

The court recognized that Park ordered the dismissal of two officials of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and sacked then Culture Minister Yoo Jin-ryong as disciplinary measures.

   However, it said there was a lack of evidence to prove Park took the measures to benefit Choi.'

   3) Violation of press freedom -- rejected

   The National Assembly accused Park of putting pressure on the Segye Times newspaper and demanding the resignation of its chief after the paper reported allegations of a secret inner circle manipulating state affairs, which included Choi's former husband Jeong Yun-hoe.

   The court ruled there was no evidence to prove the allegations.'

   4) Violation of duty to protect lives and faithfully execute duties -- not in its jurisdiction

   Park has faced criticism for her alleged inaction during a 2014 ferry sinking that killed more than 300 people, mostly high school students.

   The court said a president has a duty to protect citizens' lives, but it is not in the court's jurisdiction to determine whether she faithfully carried out her duties. It also said it is difficult to recognize that the president has a specific responsibility to take part in rescue operations in a disaster threatening people's lives.'

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