Impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun

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Impeachment of the President (Roh Moo-hyun) Case
Constitutional Court of Korea
Constitutional Court of Korea, case no. 2004Hun-Na1


Impeachment of the President (Roh Moo-hyun) Case (16-1 KCCR 609, 2004Hun-Na1, May 14, 2004)


Contents of the Decision[edit]

  1. The subject matter to be adjudicated by the Constitutional Court in the impeachment adjudication proceeding.
  2. Whether or not the due process principle is directly applicable in the impeachment proceeding at the National Assembly. (negative)
  3. The nature of the impeachment proceeding set forth in Article 65 of the Constitution.
  4. The meaning of the grounds for impeachment set forth in Article 65 of the Constitution.
  5. The constitutional ground for the obligation of political neutrality by public officials concerning elections.
  6. Whether or not the President is a "public official" within the meaning of Article 9 of the Act on the Election of Public Officials and the Prevention of Election Malpractices (hereinafter the "Public Officials Election Act"). (affirmative)
  7. Whether or not the statements of the President expressing support for a particular political party at press conferences violate the obligation of political neutrality by public officials. (affirmative)
  8. Whether or not the statements of the President expressing support for a particular political party at press conferences are in violation of the provision that prohibits electoral campaigns by public officials set forth in Article 60 of the Public Officials Election Act. (negative)
  9. The obligation of the President to abide by and preserve the Constitution.
  10. Whether or not the act taken by the President toward the National Election Commission's decision finding the President's breach of the election law violates the constitution. (affirmative)
  11. Whether or not the President's act proposing a national referendum on whether he should remain in office violates the Constitution. (affirmative)
  12. Whether or not the incidents of corruption involving the President's close acquaintances and associates constitute a violation of law by the President. (negative)
  13. Whether or not the political chaos and economic disruption caused by the unfaithful performance of the official duties and reckless management of the state affairs can be a subject matter for an impeachment adjudication at the Constitutional Court. (negative)
  14. Whether or not the "valid ground for the petition for impeachment adjudication" set forth in Section 1, Article 53 of the Constitutional Court Act is limited to a grave violation of law. (affirmative)
  15. The standard of review to be applied in determining the "gravity of the violation of law".
  16. Whether or not the President should be removed from office where, as in the instant case, there is no finding of the President's active intent against the constitutional order in his specific acts of violations of law. (negative)
  17. Whether or not the separate opinions may be disclosed at the impeachment adjudication proceeding. (negative)

Summary of the Decision[edit]

  1. The Constitutional Court, as a judicial institution, is restrained in principle to the grounds for impeachment stated in the National Assembly's impeachment resolution. Therefore, no other grounds for impeachment than those stated in the impeachment resolution may constitute the subject matter to be adjudicated by the Constitutional Court at the impeachment adjudication proceeding. However, with respect to the 'determination on legal provisions,' the violation of which is alleged in the impeachment resolution, the Constitutional Court in principle is not bound thereby. Therefore, the Constitutional Court may determine the facts that led to the impeachment based on other relevant legal provisions as well as the legal provisions which the petitioner alleges have been violated. Also, the Constitutional Court is not bound by the structure of the grounds for impeachment as categorized by the National Assembly in its impeachment resolution in determining the grounds for impeachment. Therefore, the question of in which relations the grounds for impeachment are legally examined is absolutely for the Constitutional Court to determine.
  2. The principle of due process is a legal principle that, before a decision is made by the governmental power, entitles a citizen who might be prejudiced by such a decision to an opportunity to express his or her opinion and thereby influence the process of the proceedings and the result thereof. In this case, the impeachment proceeding at the National Assembly concerns two constitutional institutions of the National Assembly and the President, and the National Assembly's resolution to impeach the President merely suspends the exercise of the power and authorities of the President as a state institution and does not impede upon the fundamental rights of the President as a private individual. Therefore, the due process principle that has been formed as a legal principle applicable to the exercise of governmental power by a state institution in its relationship with its citizens shall not be directly applicable in the impeachment proceeding that is designed to protect the Constitution against a state institution. Furthermore, there is no express provision of law concerning the impeachment proceeding that requires an opportunity to be heard for the respondent. Therefore, the argument that the impeachment proceeding at the National Assembly was in violation of the due process principle is without merit.
  3. Article 65 of the Constitution provides for the possibility of impeachment of high-ranking public officials of the executive branch and of the judiciary for violation of the Constitution or statutes. It thereby functions as a warning to such public officials not to violate the Constitution and thus also prevents such violations. Further, where certain state institutions are delegated with state authority by the citizenry but abuse such authority to violate the Constitution or statutes, the impeachment process functions to deprive such state institutions of their authority. That is, reinforcing the normative power of the Constitution by holding certain public officials legally responsible for their violation of the Constitution in exercising their official duties is the purpose and the function of the impeachment process.
  4. An analysis of the specific grounds for impeachment set forth in Article 65 of the Constitution reveals that the 'official duties' as provided in 'exercising the official duties' mean the duties that are inherent in particular governmental offices as provided by law and also other duties related thereto as commonly understood. Therefore, acts in exercising official duties mean any and all acts or activities necessary for or concomitant with the nature of a specific public office under the relevant statutes, orders, regulations, or administrative customs and practices. As the Constitution provides the grounds for impeachment as a "violation of the Constitution or statutes," the 'Constitution' includes the unwritten Constitution formed and established by the precedents of the Constitutional Court as well as the express constitutional provisions; the 'statutes' include the statutes in their formal meaning, international treaties that are provided with the same force as statutes, and the international law that is generally approved.
  5. The obligation to maintain political neutrality at the election owed by public officials is a constitutional request drawn from the status of public officials as 'civil servants for the entire citizenry' as set forth in Article 7(1) of the Constitution; the principle of free election set forth in Articles 41(1) and Article 67(1) of the Constitution; and the equal opportunity among the political parties guaranteed by Article 116(1) of the Constitution. Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act is a legal provision that specifies and realizes the above constitutional request.
  6. 'Public officials' within the meaning of Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act mean any and all public officials who should be obligated to maintain neutrality concerning elections, that is, more specifically, any and all public officials who are in a position to threaten the 'principle of free election' and 'equal opportunity among the political parties at the election.' Considering that practically all public officials are in a position to exercise undue influence upon the election in the course of exercising official duties, the public officials here include, in principle, all public officials of the national and local governments, that is, all career public officials as narrowly defined, and, further include public officials at offices of political nature who serve the state through active political activities. Here, the exception is that members of the National Assembly and the members of the local legislatures are excluded from 'public officials' within the meaning of Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act, as no political neutrality concerning elections can be requested from such members of the legislatures due to their status as the representatives of the political parties and the directly interested parties in the political campaign. Therefore, political neutrality at the election is a basic obligation owed by all public officials of the executive branch and of the judiciary. Furthermore, since the President bears the obligation to oversee and manage a fair electoral process as the head of the executive branch, the President is, as a matter of course, a 'public official' within the meaning of Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act.
  7. If the President makes a one-sided statement in support of a particular political party and influences the process through which the public opinion is formed, the President thereby interferes with and distorts the process of the independent formation of the public's opinion based on a just evaluation of the political parties and the candidates. This, at the same time, diminishes by half the meaning of the political activities continuously performed by the political parties and the candidates in the past several years in order to obtain the trust of the public, and thereby gravely depreciates the principle of parliamentary democracy. The relevant part of the President's statements at issue in this regard repeatedly and actively expressed his support for a particular political party in the course of performing the President's official duties and further directly appealed to the public for the support of that particular political party.
    Therefore, the president's statements toward the entire public at press conferences in support of a particular political party made by taking advantage of the political significance and influence of the office of the President, when political neutrality of public officials is required more than ever before as general elections approach, were in violation of the neutrality obligation concerning elections as acts unjustly influencing the elections and thereby affecting the outcome of the elections by taking advantage of the status of the President.
  8. Article 58(1) of the Public Officials Election Act makes it a prerequisite for the electoral campaign 'whether or not a candidate can be specified,' by defining the concept of 'electoral campaign' adopting the standard of 'being elected.' When the statements at issue in this case were made on February 18, 2004 and February 24, 2004, the party-endorsed candidates had not yet been determined. Therefore, the statements in support of a particular political party when the party-endorsed candidates were not yet specified did not constitute an electoral campaign.
    Furthermore, considering that the president's statements at issue herein were neither actively made nor premeditated as such statements were made in the form of the President's response to questions posed by the reporters at press conferences, neither was there an active or premeditated element to be found in the President's statements, nor, as a result, a purposeful intention sufficient to find the nature of a political campaign. Therefore, the respondent's statements cannot be deemed as active and intended electoral campaign activities committed with an intention to have a particular candidate or certain identifiable candidates win or lose the election.
  9. The 'obligation to abide by and protect the Constitution' of the President set forth in Articles 66(2) and 69 of the Constitution is the constitutional manifestation that specifies the constitutional principle of government by the rule of law in relation to the President's performance of official duties. While the 'obligation to abide by and protect the Constitution' is a norm derived from the principle of government by the rule of law, the Constitution repeatedly emphasizes such obligation of the President in Articles 66(2) and 69, considering the significance of the status of the President as the head of the state and the chief of the executive branch. Under the spirit of the Constitution as such, the President is the 'symbolic existence personifying the rule of law and the observance of law' toward the entire public.
  10. The President's acts denigrating the current law as the 'vestige of the era of the government-power-interfered elections' and publicly questioning the constitutionality and the legitimacy of the statute from his status as the President do not conform to the obligation to abide by and protect the Constitution and statutes. The President, of course, may express his or her own position and belief regarding the direction for revising the current statute as a political figure. However, it is of great importance that in which circumstances and in which relations such discussions on possible statutory revisions take place. The President's statements denigrating the current election statutes made as a response to and in the context of the National Election Commission's warning for the president's violation of such election statutes cannot be deemed as an attitude showing respect for the law.
    The statements as such made by the President, who should serve as a good example for all public officials, might have significantly negative influence on the realization of a government by the rule of law, by gravely affecting the other public officials obligated to respect and abide by the law and, further, by lowering the public's awareness to abide by the law. To conclude, the act of the President questioning the legitimacy and the normative power of the current statute in front of the public is against the principle of government by the rule of law and is in violation of the obligation to protect the Constitution.
  11. The national referendum is a means to realize direct democracy, and its object or subject matter is the 'decision on issues,' that is, specific state policies or legislative bills. Therefore, by the own nature of the national referendum, the 'confidence the public has in its representative' cannot be a subject matter for a national referendum and the decision of and the confidence in the representative under our Constitution may be performed and manifested solely through elections.
    The President's suggestion to hold a national referendum on whether he should remain in office is an unconstitutional exercise of the President's authority to institute a national referendum delegated by Article 72 of the Constitution, and thus it is in violation of the constitutional obligation not to abuse the mechanism of the national referendum as a political tool to fortify his own political position. Although the President merely suggested an unconstitutional national referendum on the people's confidence and did not yet actually institute such referendum, the suggestion toward the public of a national confidence referendum, which is not permitted under the Constitution, is itself in violation of Article 72 of the Constitution and not in conformity with the president's obligation to realize and protect the Constitution.
  12. As Article 65(1) of the Constitution provides 'as the President, ... exercises his or her official duties' and thereby limits the grounds for impeachment to the exercise of the 'official duties,' the above provision, as construed, mandates that only those acts of violation of law performed by the President while holding the office of the President may constitute the grounds for impeachment. The alleged grounds for impeachment concerning the unlawful political funds that involved the Sun & Moon corporation and the respondent's presidential election camp are based on facts that arose before the respondent was elected and sworn in on February 25, 2003 as the President. Therefore, such alleged grounds are clearly irrelevant to the respondent's exercise of his official duties as President and do not constitute grounds for impeachment. With respect to the misconducts of the President's close associates and aides that took place subsequent to the respondent's assumption of the office of President, none of the evidence submitted to the bench throughout the entire proceedings in this case supports any finding that the respondent instructed or abetted the acts of Choi Do-sul and others including receiving unlawful funds or was otherwise illegally involved in such acts. Therefore, the alleged grounds for impeachment based on the above facts are without merit.
  13. Article 69 of the Constitution provides for the President's 'obligation to faithfully perform the official duties,' as it provides for the obligation of the President to take the oath of office. Although the 'obligation to faithfully perform the official duties' of the President is a constitutional obligation, this obligation, by its own nature, is, unlike the 'obligation to protect the Constitution,' not the one the performance of which can be normatively enforced. As such, as a matter of principle, this obligation cannot be a subject matter for a judicial adjudication.
    As Article 65(1) of the Constitution limits the ground for impeachment to the 'violation of the Constitution or statutes' and the impeachment adjudication process at the Constitutional Court is solely to determine the existence or the nonexistence of a ground for impeachment from a legal standpoint, the ground for impeachment alleged by the petitioner in this case concerning the respondent's faithfulness of the performance of the official duties such as the political incapability or the mistake in policy decisions, cannot in and by itself constitute a ground for impeachment and therefore it is not a subject matter for an impeachment adjudication.
  14. Article 53(1) of the Constitutional Court Act provides that, "when there is a valid ground for the petition for impeachment adjudication, the Constitutional Court shall issue a decision removing the respondent from office." The above provision may be interpreted literally to mean that the Constitutional Court shall automatically make a decision of removal from office in all cases where there is any valid ground for impeachment as set forth in Article 65(1) of the Constitution. However, if every and any minor violation of law committed in the course of performing official duties were to mandate removal from office, this would offend the request that punishment under the Constitution proportionally correspond to the obligation owed by the respondent, that is, the principle of proportionality. Therefore, the 'valid ground for the petition for impeachment adjudication' provided in Article 53(1) of the Constitutional Court Act does not mean any and all incidence of violation of law, but the incidence of a 'grave' violation of law sufficient to justify removal of a public official from office.
  15. The question of whether there was a 'grave violation of law' or whether the 'removal is justifiable' cannot be conceived by itself. Therefore, the existence of a valid ground for the petition for impeachment adjudication, that is, the removal from office, should be determined by balancing the 'degree of the negative impact on or the harm to the constitutional order caused by the violation of law' and the 'effect to be caused by the removal of the respondent from office.'
    On the other hand, a decision to remove the President from office would deprive the 'democratic legitimacy' delegated to the President by the national constituents through an election during the term of the office and may cause political chaos arising from the disruption of the opinions among the people, that is, the disruption and the antagonism between those who support the President and those who do not, let alone a national loss and an interruption in state affairs from the discontinuity of the performance of presidential duties. Therefore, in light of the gravity of the effect to be caused by the removal of the President, the ground to justify a decision of removal should also possess corresponding gravity.
    Although it is very difficult to provide in general terms which should constitute a 'grave violation of law sufficient to justify the removal of the President from office,' a decision to remove the President from office shall be justified in such limited circumstances as where the maintenance of the presidential office can no longer be permitted from the standpoint of the protection of the Constitution, or where the President has lost the qualifications to administrate state affairs by betraying the trust of the people.
  16. Considering the impact on the constitutional order caused by the violations of laws by the President as recognized in this case in its entirety, the specific acts of the President in violation of law cannot be assessed as a threat to the basic order of a free democracy as there is no finding of an active intent to stand against the constitutional order therein.
    The acts of the President violating the laws were not grave in terms of the protection of the Constitution to the extent that it would require the protection of the Constitution and the restoration of the impaired constitutional order by a decision to remove the President from office. Also, such acts of the President cannot be deemed as acts that betrayed the trust of the people to the extent that they would require the deprivation of the trust delegated to the President by the people prior to the completion of the presidential term. Therefore, there is no valid ground sufficient to justify a decision to remove the President from office.
  17. Article 34(1) of the Constitutional Court Act provides that the deliberation of the Constitutional Court shall not be public. Therefore, the separate opinions of the individual Justices may be noted in the decision only when a special provision permits an exception to such secrecy of deliberation proceedings. With respect to the impeachment adjudication, no provision for the exception to the secrecy of deliberation exists. Therefore, in this impeachment adjudication, the separate opinions of the individual Justices or the numbers thereof may not be noted in the decision.
    However, it should be noted that concerning the above position, there was also a position that the 'separate opinions may be noted in the decision as Article 36(3) of the Act should be interpreted to leave the question of whether to note individual opinions in an impeachment adjudication to the discretion of the participating justices.'

Parties[edit]

Petitioner[edit]

The Chair of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, on behalf of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Counsel of Record: Kang Jae-sup and 66 others

Respondent[edit]

Roh Moo-hyun, the President of the Republic of Korea Counsel of Record: Ryu Hyun-seok and 9 others Holding

The petition for the impeachment adjudication is rejected.

Reasoning[edit]

1. Overview of the Case and the Subject Matter of Review[edit]

A. Overview of the Case
(1) Resolution of the impeachment and the petition for impeachment adjudication
The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea proposed the 'motion for the impeachment of the President (Roh Moo-hyun)' presented by Assembly members Yoo Yong-tae and Hong Sa-deok and 157 others before the second plenary session at the 246th session (extraordinary) on March 12, 2004, and passed the motion by 193 concurrent votes out of the entire Assembly membership of 271. The Chair of the National Assembly Legislation and Judiciary Committee, Kim Ki-chun, acting ex officio as the petitioner, requested an impeachment adjudication against the respondent by submitting the attested original copy of the impeachment resolution to the Constitutional Court on the same date pursuant to Article 49(2) of the Constitutional Court Act.
The full text of the National Assembly's impeachment resolution against the respondent is attached hereto as Appendix 3.
(2) Summary of the grounds for the impeachment resolution of the National Assembly
(A) Corrupting the national law and order
1) Act of supporting a particular political party
A) The respondent violated Articles 9(1), 60(1), 85(1), 86(1) and 255(1) of the Public Officials Election and Election Malpractice Prevention Act (hereinafter referred to as the 'Public Officials Election Act'), in (i) stating, at a joint press conference with six news media organizations in the Seoul-Incheon region on February 18, 2004 , that "I simply cannot utter what will follow should the quorum to resist the constitutional revision be destroyed; and (ii) stating, as an invited guest at a press conference with the Korean Network Reporters Club on February 24, that "the public will make it clear whether I will be backed to do it well for the four years to come or I cannot stand it and will be forced to step down," "I expect that the public will overwhelmingly support the Uri Party at the general election," and "I would like to do anything that is legal if it may lead to votes for the Uri Party."
B) The respondent violated Articles 9(1), 59, and 87 of the Public Officials Election Act and Article 69 of the Constitution, in (i) stating, on December 19, 2003, when he participated in an event entitled "Remember 1219" hosted by the so-called "Roh-Sa-Mo," that "The citizens revolution is still going on. Let's step forward once again"; and (ii) stating, at a meeting with the journalists in the Gangwon-Do region on February 5, 2004, that "the 'Citizen Participation 0415(KookCham 0415)' members' participation in politics should be permitted and encouraged legally and politically."
C) Pursuant to the report in Joong-Ang Ilbo on February 27, 2004, the document entitled 'the strategic planning of the Uri Party for the 17th General Election' states that it is necessary to 'establish the control tower where the party, the administration, and Cheong Wa Dae (the Office of the President) together participate' in order to invite the candidates for the general election, and lists 'the party- Cheong Wa Dae-the administration' in the order of importance in the administration of the state affairs for the general election. This confirms the organizational intervention into the election by Cheong Wa Dae, and the command of the strategy of a particular political party for the general election by the respondent was in violation of Articles 9(1) and 86(1)(ii) of the Public Officials Election Act.
D) The respondent violated Article 9(1) of the Public Officials Election Act and Articles 8(3) and 11(1) of the Constitution, in (i) stating, at a beginning-of-the-year press conference on January 14, 2004, that "there was a split because there were those who supported reform and those who did not support reform fearing it, and I would like to go together with the Uri Party as those who supported me at the presidential election are running the Uri Party"; and (ii) stating, at a gathering with the close associates on December 24, 2003, that "if you vote for the New Millennium Democratic Party, you are helping the Grand National Party."
E) The respondent violated Article 237(1)(iii) of the Public Officials Election Act and Articles 10, 19 and 24 of the Constitution, in inducing the support for a particular political party by threatening the public and in repeatedly making remarks affecting the public's mind concerning the general election.
2) Act in contempt of the constitutional institutions
A) The respondent violated Articles 66(2), 69 and 78 of the Constitution and Article 7(1) of the National Intelligence Service Act, in ignoring the impropriety recommendation by the National Assembly Confirmation Hearing Committee on April 25, 2003, for Ko Young-gu, as the head of the National Intelligence Service.
B) The respondent violated Articles 66(2) and 69 of the Constitution, Article 63 of the National Public Official Act, and Article 311 of the Criminal Code, in describing the then incumbent members of the National Assembly as 'weeds to be mowed' in his open letter to the public via the Internet on May 8, 2003.
C) The respondent violated Articles 63(1), 66(2) and 69 of the Constitution, in taking the position that seemed to refuse the National Assembly resolution of September 3, 2003 that proposed the removal of Kim Doo-kwan from the office of the Minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs, by postponing the acceptance of such resolution.
D) The respondent violated Articles 40, 66(2), and 69 of the Constitution, in (i) expressing regrettableness on March 4, 2004 towards the National Election Commission's decision requesting the President to observe the neutrality obligation concerning elections, through the Senior Secretary to the President for Public Information; (ii) denigrating the current election laws, on the same date, as the 'vestige of the era of the government-power-interfered-elections'; and, (iii) on March 8, devaluating his violation of Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act as 'miscellaneous' and 'minor and equivocal.'
E) The respondent violated Articles 65(1), 66(2) and 69 of the Constitution, in stating on March 8, 2004 that the National Assembly's moving forward on the impeachment proposal was an 'unjust oppression.'
F) The respondent violated Articles 66(2), 69 and 72 of the Constitution, in stating at a press conference on October 10, 2003 that, with respect to the suspicion as to Choi Do-sul's reception of the secret fund from the SK Group, "when the investigation closes, I will ask the public the confidence in the President concerning the public distrust accumulated during the past including this matter"; and stating at the policy speech on the state affairs at the National Assembly on October 13 that "the vote of confidence will be feasible even under the current law upon reaching a political agreement although there are some legal arguments upon it," "although a way to associate the vote of confidence with certain policies is under discussion, it would rather not be done that way and none of the conditions will be attached," and "if I win the vote of confidence, I plan to reorganize the cabinet and Cheong Wa Dae within this year and to carry out reform to state affairs."
(B) Power-engendered corruption
1) Act of receiving illegal political funds concerning the Sun & Moon Group
A) In June 2002, the respondent had Ahn Hee-jung request the National Tax Service to reduce the taxes for the Sun & Moon Group (CEO, Moon Byung-wook), whereby the taxes for the Sun & Moon Group was reduced to 2.3 billion Korean Won from 17.1 billion Korean Won. This was in violation of Article 129(2) of the Criminal Code and Article 3 of the Enhanced Punishments for the Specified Crimes Act.
B) The respondent had a breakfast meeting with Moon Byung-wook on November9, 2002 at Riz Carlton in Seoul, for which Lee Gwang-jae acted as an agent. Immediately after the respondent left the breakfast meeting, Lee Gwang-jae received 100 million Korean Won from Moon Byung-wook. This was in violation of Article 30 of the Political Fund Act (hereinafter referred to as the 'Fund Act') and Article 32 of the Criminal Code.
C) The respondent violated Article 129 of the Criminal Code, Article 61 of the State Public Officials Act, and Article 30 of the Fund Act, in receiving two packages of money (presumed to be approximately 100 million Korean Won) from Moon Byung-wook at Kimhae Tourists Hotel on July 7, 2002 and forwarding it to his accompanying secretary Yeo Taek-soo.
2) Receiving illegal political fund concerning the presidential election camp
In Roh Moo-hyun's presidential election camp, Chung Dae-chul, the chief of the Joint Election Strategy Committee, received 900 million Korean Won, Lee Sang-soo, the General Affairs Director, received 700 million Korean Won, and Lee Jae-jung, the Campaign Headquarter Director, received 1 billion Korean Won, of illegal political fund, all of which was forwarded to Roh Moo-hyun's presidential election camp. The respondent's involvement in the above transactions was in violation of Article 30 of the Fund Act.
3) Involvement in the corruption of close associates
A) Corruption concerning Choi Do-sul
Choi Do-sul (i) embezzled 250 million Korean Won and delivered the funds to Sun Bong-sul, the CEO of the Jang-Soo-Cheon company, in May 2002, which were the remaining funds in the account belonging to the New Millennium Democratic Party Election Committee Busan Branch as the balance from the local elections, in order to pay the obligation owed by the respondent concerning the Jang-Soo-Cheon company; (ii) collected illegal funds in the amount of 500 million Korean Won and delivered such funds to Sun Bong-sul for the period of December 2002 to February 6, 2003, in order to pay the obligation owed to Jang-Soo-cheon; (iii) received illegal funds in the amount of 100 million Korean Won through an account under an assumed name for the period of March to April of 2002, in order to create funds for the presidential candidacy nomination of the respondent; (iv) received illegal funds in the amount of 296.5 million Korean Won from the Nexen Tire company and others after the presidential election; (v) received 47 million Korean Won from Samsung and others during his office as the General Affairs Secretary for the President; (vi) received negotiable certificates of deposits from the SK Group in the amount of approximately 1.1 billion Korean Won immediately after the presidential election. The above acts of Choi Do-sul were impossible without the respondent's direction or tacit permission. Therefore, such acts of the respondent were in violation of Article 61(1) of the State Public Officials Act, Article 30 of the Fund Act, Article 3 of the Act of Regulation and Punishment for the Concealment of Criminally Gained Profit, and Articles 31, 32, 129 and 356 of the Criminal Code.
B) Corruption concerning Ahn Hee-jung
(i) Between August 29, 2002 and February 2003, Kang Geum-won provided 1.9 billion Korean Won of illegal funds by way of a disguised sale and purchase of real estate owned by Lee Gi-myung; (ii) Ahn Hee-jung collected 790 million Korean Won of illegal funds from September through December of 2002 and delivered such funds to Sun Bong-sul and others; and (iii) Ahn Hee-jung received 50 million Korean Won of illegal funds at the time of the presidential candidacy nomination process, 3 billion Korean Won of illegal funds from Samsung at the time of the presidential election, and 1 billion Korean Won of illegal funds between March and August of 2003. The respondent violated Article 2 of the Enhanced Punishments for the Specified Crimes Act, Article 61(1) of the State Public Officials Act, Article 30 of the Fund Act, and Articles 31 and 32 of the Criminal Code, as the respondent directed and abetted the above acts.
C) Corruption concerning Yeo Taek-soo
Yeo Taek-soo received 300 million Korean Won of illegal funds from the Lotte Group and provided 200 million Korean Won out of such funds for the formation of the Uri Party during his office as an administrative officer at Cheong Wa Dae. The respondent violated Article 61(1) of the State Public Officials Act, Article 30 of the Funds Act, and Articles 31, 32 and 129 of the Criminal Code, as the respondent was involved in such acts. D) Corruption concerning Yang Gil-seung
Yang Gil-seung, who was the Chief of Personal Secretary Office for the President, was arrested in June of 2003 for allegedly having requested to suspend the investigation in return for a lavish entertainment at the expense of Lee Won-ho, who was then under investigation for an alleged tax evasion.
4) Public remarks as to the retirement from politics
The respondent publically made remarks at the party representative meeting at Cheong Wa Dae on December 14, 2003 that the respondent would retire from politics should the amount of illegal political funds on the part of the respondent exceed one-tenth of that of the Grand National Party. The respondent, however, ignored such public promise of political retirement although the result of the public prosecutors office's investigation indicates that the amount reached one-seventh as of March 8, 2004. The respondent thereby violated Article 69 of the Constitution, Article 63 of the State Public Officials Act, and Article 30 of the Fund Act.
(C) Disruption of the National Administration
The respondent violated Articles 10 and 69 of the Constitution in disrupting the public and drowning the economy into a rupture, notwithstanding his constitutionally mandated obligation as the head of the state and the ultimately responsible party of the national administration to sincerely endeavor to protect the public's right to pursue happiness and to increase the public welfare by uniting the public and consolidating the whole capacity for the nation's development and economic growth, by failing to maintain integrity in the policy goals between growth and distribution, by increasing uncertainty at the industry from oscillating without clear policy directions regarding the right-obligation relationship of the labor and the management, by exacerbating economic instability from causing confusion and theoretical enmity among the policy administrators, by having unfaithfully performed his office in, for example, pouring all his authority and effort in for a particular political party's victory at the general election, and by irresponsibly and recklessly administering the national affairs in, for example, making a remark that "the presidency is too damn much trouble to do," proposing a confidence vote, and declaring his retirement from politics.
B. Subject Matter of Review
(1) The subject matters of review in the instant case are whether the President violated the constitution or statutes in performing his duties and whether the President should be removed from office by the issuance of the Constitutional Court's order as such.
(2) The Constitutional Court, as a judicial institution, is restrained in principle to the grounds for impeachment stated in the National Assembly's impeachment resolution. Therefore, no other grounds for impeachment except those stated in the impeachment resolution constitute the subject matter to be adjudicated by the Constitutional Court at the impeachment adjudication proceeding.
However, with respect to the 'determination on legal provisions,' the violation of which is alleged in the impeachment resolution, the Constitutional Court in principle is not bound thereby. Therefore, the Constitutional Court may determine the facts that led to the impeachment based on other relevant legal provisions as well as the legal provisions which the petitioner alleges have been violated. Also, the Constitutional Court is not bound by the structure of the grounds for impeachment as categorized by the National Assembly in its impeachment resolution in determining the grounds for impeachment. Therefore, the question of in which relations the grounds for impeachment are legally examined is absolutely to be determined by the Constitutional Court.

2. Summary of the Impeaching Petitioner's Argument and the Respondent's Answer[edit]

A. Summary of the Argument of the Impeaching Petitioner
(1) Not only an act of a public official in violation of the provisions of the Constitution or statutes in the performance of his or her official duties, but also immorality concerning the performance of the office or the political incapability and the error in political decisionmaking, constitutes the grounds for impeachment. The grounds for impeachment are "all" acts in violation of the Constitution and statutes in the performance of his or her official duties and are not limited to only "grave" violations. Even if it is necessary to limit the grounds for impeachment to an 'act of grave violation' in order to prevent abuse of the impeachment system, it is manifest that a violation of the constitutionally mandated obligation or an unfaithful performance of the official duties by the President, unlike other acts of violation, constitutes a grave violation of the Constitution or statutes. Also, an act prior to inauguration as President may constitute a ground for impeachment.
(2) The authority to determine whether an act of the President in violation of the Constitution or statutes in the performance of his or her official duties is of such gravity to justify the removal from the office lies in the National Assembly directly constituted by the national constituents. The scope of the subject matter in the impeachment adjudication proceeding at the Constitutional Court is limited to the question of the constitutionality and legality of the impeachment procedures and to the question of whether or not the specific violations that allegedly constitute the grounds for impeachment in fact exist.
(3) The respondent, both prior to and following the inauguration as President, continuously and repeatedly made remarks that cast a doubt on his qualification as President and his will to preserve the basic order of free democracy and instigated the disintegration of the national opinions. Also, the respondent impeded the political neutrality and independence of the public prosecutors' office by intervening into or pressuring the investigation process. The respondent continuously performed an illegal election campaign for a particular political party, upon which the constitutional institution of the National Election Commission determined, as unprecedented in the constitutional history for an incumbent president, that the respondent was in violation of the Public Officials Election Act, and the decision and the accompanying warning were announced to the respondent on March 3, 2004. Notwithstanding, ignoring such warning, the respondent has taken an anti-constitutional position directly denying the rule of law by declaring that he would also publicly support a particular political party in the future irrespective of the election law.
Also, the respondent violated various statutes such as Article 30 of the Political Funds Act (punishing the act of receiving illegal political funds), Articles 123 (abuse of office) and 129 (bribery) of the Criminal Code, in getting directly and indirectly involved with numerous incidents of receiving illegal funds and embezzlement by his close associates prior to and following his winning the presidential election. The respondent violated the Constitution and statutes such as Article 69 of the Constitution (obligation to abide by the Constitution), in suggesting, concerning certain corruption matters involving his close associates, a national referendum whether he should remain in office, which is not permitted under the Constitution, and, concerning illegal funds for the presidential election, in publicly declaring that he would retire from politics had such illegal funds been in excess of certain amount and then ignoring such promise. Furthermore, although the respondent, as the president of a nation, should endeavor to unify the nation, to develop economy, and to promote public welfare, the respondent, abandoning such constitutionally mandated obligations, disintegrated the national opinions by making statements that instigated antagonism and jealousy among various classes in our society, exacerbated economic instability by uncertain policy goals between 'growth and distribution' and confusion among the policy administrators, and led the national economy and the people's livelihood into distress by causing economic stagnation and large-scale unemployment among the younger generation thus returning to the public agony and misery harsher than that during the IMF foreign-currency crisis, thereby violated Articles 10 (the obligation to protect the public's right to pursue happiness) and 69 (the obligation to faithfully perform the office in order to promote the public welfare) of the Constitution.
The National Assembly, as the above can no longer be tolerated, unavoidably, in order for the happiness of the public and the future of the nation, reached the resolution to impeach the President, which is the sole means under the current Constitution to directly hold responsible and check the President against misrulings in violation of the Constitution and statutes.
B. Summary of the Respondent's Answer
(1) On the Question of Legal Prerequisites
It is the abuse of the impeachment authority by the National Assembly that, in the instant case, the National Assembly hastily resolved to impeach the President while no sufficient grounds or evidence for impeachment existed, thereby suspending the authority of the President, and it attempts to inquire into the grounds and the evidence for impeachment through the adjudication procedure at the Constitutional Court.
The Grand National Party and the New Millennium Democratic Party threatened to oust party-member assemblypersons should they not participate in the impeachment resolution. The assemblypersons who participated in the resolution process did a public vote with no curtain hung at the voting booth, with certain assemblypersons showing their marked votes to the whip of the party to which they belonged. Also, the Speaker of the National Assembly voted by proxy.
The Speaker of the National Assembly unilaterally changed the time when the general meeting would open from 2 o'clock in the after-noon to 10 o'clock in the morning, without consulting the representative member of the Uri Party, which is a negotiating party of the National Assembly.
The Speaker of the National Assembly impeded the voting rights of the assemblypersons who were members of the Uri Party, by hastily declaring the closure of the vote upon completion of vote by the assemblypersons belonging to the Grand National Party, the New Millennium Democratic Party and the United Liberal Democrats, without cautiously assessing the circumstances regarding whether the assemblypersons belonging to the Uri Party would participate in voting.
The Speaker of the National Assembly impeded the right of assemblypersons to inquire and discuss in violation of Article 93 of the National Assembly Act, by foregoing the procedure of explaining the purpose but instead distributing the printed materials, and by forcing the vote without any procedure for inquiry and discussion, in the deliberation process for the impeachment motion.
The National Assembly violated the Constitution by impeding the right of assemblypersons to inquire and discuss, in passing the impeachment motion as a single measure by way of a single vote, without going through the procedures to inquire and discuss and to vote individually on each of the three stated grounds for impeachment, while the impeachment resolution in the instant case contains three distinct grounds for impeachment against the respondent.
The resolution on the impeachment is in violation of due process as the respondent was not provided with any notice or opportunity to state his opinion at the impeachment process in the National Assembly.
(2) On the Merit of the Case
The authority to impeach the President and the authority to adjudicate thereon should be exercised with utmost caution within the boundary of checks and balances under the principle of separation of powers. The 'violation of the Constitution or statutes in performing official duties' provided in Article 65(1) of the Constitution is too vague to indicate which types of act of violation rendered in which method are subject to impeachment. Considering the systematic and practical dynamics surrounding the constitutional institutions and the fundamental order and the value ordained by the Constitution, the grounds for impeachment against the President should correctly be limited to 'grave and apparent violation of the Constitution and statutes deemed to impede upon the constitutional values and the constitutional fundamental order.'
The impeachment resolution in the instant case was reached by a National Assembly that has practically lost democratic legitimacy, with the termination of its term fast approaching, in pursuit of party interest and impulse beyond its authority delegated by the public; and was hastily processed even though there was no substantive ground that would justify impeachment, without careful investigation and deliberation, democratic discussion, or any process to persuade the public.
With respect to the first alleged ground for impeachment entitled the 'violation of the election law,' the President is a public officer of a political nature who is permitted to be a member of a political party and Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act cannot be applied to the President. Even if not, the statements at issue herein are not deemed to be in violation of the Public Officials Election Act.
With respect to the second alleged ground for impeachment entitled the 'corruption of the respondent's close associates and aides,' many of the alleged facts occurred prior to the respondent's inauguration as President, and the respondent was neither involved in the alleged corruption by, for example, directing or abetting such alleged acts, nor has the respondent's involvement been proven, therefore, such alleged acts under this count do not constitute a ground for impeachment.
With respect to the third alleged ground for impeachment entitled the 'disruption of the national administration,' the allegation is different from the fact, and, even if true, the political incapacity or the misjudgment in policymaking of the President does not constitute a ground for impeachment.

3. Review of the Legality of the National Assembly's Impeachment[edit]

A. National Assembly's Authority to Self-Regulate its Deliberation Proceedings

The National Assembly, as the representative of the public and as the legislative body, possesses vast authority to self-regulate its administration, including its deliberation process and internal regulation. This self-regulating authority should be respected in light of the doctrine of separation of powers and the status and the function of the National Assembly, as long as there is no clear violation of the Constitution or statutes in the deliberative or legislative process of the National Assembly. Therefore, it is not desirable for other state institutions to intervene and judge the legitimacy of a decision reached by the National Assembly upon matters that fall within the scope of its self-regulating authority, and no exception thereto applies to the Constitutional Court (See 10-2 KCCR 74, 83, 98Hun-Ra3, July 14, 1998).

Also, the Speaker of the National Assembly is, in principle, vested with the general and inclusive authority and responsibility concerning the deliberation process of the National Assembly, pursuant to Article 10 of the National Assembly Act. Therefore, in cases of disputes as to the deliberation process at the general meeting or where the normal deliberative process otherwise cannot apply, the method of deliberation and of resolution is to be determined by the Speaker of the National Assembly within the above authority endowed to the Speaker. Such authority of the Speaker to preside over the deliberation process is, widely interpreted, part of the self-regulating authority of the National Assembly, and should be respected as such unless exercised in a way clearly beyond its limit. As a principle, such authority may not be impeded upon by the Constitutional Court (See 12-1 KCCR 115, 128, 99Hun-Ra1, February 24, 2000).

B. On the argument that the proceedings at the National Assembly lacked sufficient investigation and deliberation

The respondent argues that in order for the National Assembly to petition for the impeachment of the President, the National Assembly must sufficiently investigate the grounds for impeachment and the evidence thereto, to the extent that the Constitutional Court in its impeachment adjudication can readily determine the validity of the alleged grounds for impeachment. It is desirable, as a matter of course, that the National Assembly thoroughly investigate the stated grounds for impeachment prior to its reaching a resolution to impeach. However, Article 130(1) of the National Assembly Act provides that, "upon proposal for the impeachment resolution, ... the National Assembly may, by resolution at the plenary session, assign the matter to the Legislation and Judiciary Committee for investigation," thus subjects the investigation to the discretion of the National Assembly. Therefore, even if the National Assembly did not perform a separate investigation in the instant case, this was not in violation of the Constitution or statutes.

C. On the arguments of the forced voting, the non-secret vote, and the proxy vote for the Speaker of the National Assembly
(1) Even if the Grand National Party and the New Millennium Democratic Party publicly declared that they "will oust from the party those assemblypersons who will not participate in the vote for the impeachment measure," this cannot be deemed as pressure or threat substantively preventing the assemblypersons from exercising their voting right pursuant to their conscience (Article 46(2) of the Constitution, and Article 114-2 of the National Assembly Act) beyond the boundaries of the party control permissible under today's party democracy.
(2) Even if it was true that the screen at the voting booth was not pulled down at the time of voting or certain assemblypersons disclosed the content of their votes to the party whip of their respective party membership, the question of the effect of such on the validity of the voting at the National Assembly is a matter for which the decision of the National Assembly, with its self-regulating authority regarding the deliberation process, should be respected. The Speaker of the National Assembly confirmed the validity of the votes, thereby, declaring the passing of the impeachment resolution, and there is no clear basis or materials indicating a patent violation of the Constitution or statutes. Therefore, the Constitutional Court may not deny the effect of the votes on or the passing of the impeachment resolution, solely on these alleged facts.
(3) With respect to the argument that the Speaker of the National Assembly voted by proxy, voting by proxy means that 'someone does not mark the vote and, instead, has a third party mark the vote on his or her behalf.' The acknowledged facts here merely indicate that the Speaker of the National Assembly, pursuant to the custom within the National Assembly, marked the vote himself from the seat reserved for the Speaker, folded the voting paper to secure the content of the vote from disclosure to others, and forwarded such voting paper to an officer so that the officer put the vote into the ballot box. Therefore, there was no vote by proxy.
D. On the argument that the opening time for the National Assembly general meeting was arbitrarily changed

The National Assembly Act, with respect to the opening time for its meetings and sessions, provides in Article 72 that the "meeting of the plenary session shall be opened at two o'clock p.m. (on Saturday, at ten o'clock a.m.): provided, That the Speaker may change the opening time after consulting with the representative assemblyperson of each negotiating party," thereby providing that a change of the opening time shall be subject to the consultation with the representing assemblyperson of each negotiation party.

The 'consultation' here may occur in various forms, by its nature, as the process for exchanging and receiving opinions, and the Speaker of the National Assembly makes the final judgment and decision upon matters regarding such consultation. In the instant case, consi- dering that a normal deliberation process pursuant to the National As- sembly Act was hardly anticipated due to the continuous occupation of the floor for the general meeting by the assemblypersons of the Uri Party notwithstanding the fact that the impeachment motion was to be discarded past March 12, 2004 for the expiration of the time limit, and further considering that the prevailing majority of the assemblypersons, including the assemblypersons of the Uri Party, were present at the designated venue when the general meeting at issue was opened at approximately 11:22 on March 12, 2004, the mere fact that the Representative Assemblyperson of the Uri Party and the Speaker of the National Assembly did not directly discuss the opening time cannot, by itself, be deemed as a violation of Article 72 of the National Assembly Act or as an infringement on the right of assembly- persons of the Uri Party membership to examine and vote.

E. On the argument that the voting was unilaterally declared to be closed

The respondent alleges that the Speaker of the National Assembly unilaterally declared that the voting was closed disregarding whether or not the assemblypersons of the Uri Party would intend to partic- ipate in voting. However, the minutes of the National Assembly general meeting for March 12, 2004 indicate that the Speaker, at that time, urged two or three times those who had not yet voted to participate in voting and declared that the voting would be closed should there be no more votes. It cannot be, then, deemed that the Speaker of the National Assembly obstructed the Uri Party assembly- persons from exercising their voting rights by unilaterally closing the voting.

F. On the argument that the inquiry and discussion process was lacking

The respondent argues that the forcefully performed voting with a mere distribution of the printed materials instead of the explanation of the purpose by the assemblyperson who proposed the impeachment motion, without any inquiry or discussion process, in violation of Article 93 of the National Assembly Act, impeded the assemblypersons' right to inquire and discuss.

Article 93 of the National Assembly Act provides that, 'with respect to such subject matters which have not been examined by a committee, the proponent of such matter should explain its purpose.' The above minutes of the National Assembly general meeting indicate that, in the deliberation process for the impeachment motion in the instant case, a 'document' was substituted for the proponent's expla- nation of the purpose. There is no legal ground to deem this meth- od as inappropriate.

Next, on the argument that the inquiry and discussion process was lacking, as Article 93 of the National Assembly Act provides that the 'general meeting, in deliberating the subject matters before it, shall vote upon inquiry and discussion,' it would have been desir- able, in light of the significance of the impeachment, if the National Assembly had rendered sufficient inquiry and discussion within the Na- tional Assembly. However, with respect to the proposed impeachment motion not sent to the Legislation and Judiciary Committee, Article 130(2) of the National Assembly Act stipulating that "a secret vote shall be taken to determine whether to pass an impeachment motion between 24 and 72 hours after the motion is reported to the plenary session" can be deemed as a special provision concerning the impeach- ment procedure and may be interpreted to mean that the 'impeachment motion may be put to a vote without inquiry and discussion.' With the self-regulating authority and the legal interpretation of the Nation- al Assembly to be respected, such interpretation of the law cannot be deemed as arbitrary or incorrect.

G. On the argument that each ground for impeachment was not separately voted on

In voting to decide whether to pass an impeachment resolution, it would be desirable to vote on each of the stated grounds for im- peachment separately, in order to appropriately protect the right to vote of the assemblypersons. However, the National Assembly Act does not contain any express provision regarding such and merely provides in Article 110 that the Speaker of the National Assembly should declare the title of the subject matter that is to be voted on. Pursuant to the above provision, the scope of the subject matter to be voted on varies depending upon how the title of the subject matter is determined. Thus, whether or not more than one ground for impeachment may be voted on as a single matter is, basically, up to the Speaker of the National Assembly who has the authority to determine the title of the subject matter that is to be voted on. Therefore, the argument raised by the respondent in this regard lacks merit.

H. On the argument that the principle of due process was violated

The respondent argues that the impeachment resolution in the instant case was in violation of the principle of due process since the respondent had not been officially notified of the facts allegedly constituting the grounds for impeachment nor had the respondent been provided with an opportunity to state his own opinions.

The principle of due process here, as the respondent argues, is the legal principle that before the state authority makes a decision prejudicing its citizen, such citizen should be provided with an oppor- tunity to state his or her own opinions, and should thereby be able to affect the progress of the procedure and the result thereof. The citizen is not a mere object of the state authority but the subject of the process and only when a citizen may state his or her own opinions prior to a decision concerning his or her own right can an objective and fair procedure be guaranteed and the equality of status in the procedure between the parties realized.

In the instant case, however, the impeachment procedures at the National Assembly concern the relationship between two constitutional institutions, the National Assembly and the President, and the impeach- ment resolution by the National Assembly merely suspends the exer- cise of the authority vested in the President as a state institution and does not infringe the basic rights of the President as a private individual. Therefore, the due process principle that has been formed as a legal principle applicable in the exercise of the governmental power by the state institution in its relationship with its citizens shall not be directly applicable in the impeachment proceeding that is designed to protect the Constitution against a state institution. Furthermore, there is no express provision of law concerning the im- peachment proceeding that requires an opportunity to be heard for the respondent. Therefore, the argument that the impeachment pro- ceeding at the National Assembly was in violation of the due process principle is groundless.

4. Nature of the impeachment adjudication procedure in Article 65 of the Constitution and the grounds for impeachment[edit]

A. The impeachment adjudication procedure is a system designed to protect and maintain the Constitution from infringement by high- ranking public officials of the executive and judicial branches. Article 65 of the Constitution provides for the possibility of im- peachment of high-ranking public officials of the executive branch and the judiciary for violation of the Constitution or statutes. It thereby functions as a warning to such public officials not to violate the Con- stitution and thus also prevents such violations. Further, where certain public officials are delegated with state authority by the citizenry but abuse such authority to violate the Constitution or statutes, the impeachment process functions to deprive them of such authority. That is, reinforcing the normative power of the Constitution by holding certain public officials legally responsible for their violation of the Constitution in exercising their official duties is the purpose and the function of the impeachment adjudication process.

Article 65 of the Constitution includes the President in the defini- tion of public officials who are subject to impeachment, memorializing a discerned position that even the President elected by the public and thereby directly endowed with democratic legitimacy may be im- peached in order for the preservation of the constitutional order and that the considerable political chaos that may be caused by a decision to remove the President from office should be deemed as an inevitable cost of democracy in order for the national community to protect the basic order of free democracy. The system subjecting the President to the possibility of impeachment, thus realizes the principle of the rule of law or a state governed by law that every person is under the law and no possessor of the state power, however mighty, is above the law.

Our Constitution, in order to fulfill the function of the impeach- ment adjudication process as a process dedicated to the preservation of the Constitution, expressly provides in Article 65 that the ground for impeachment shall be a 'violation of the Constitution or statutes' and mandates the Constitutional Court to take charge of the impeach- ment adjudication, thereby indicating that the purpose of the impeach- ment system lies in the removal of the President 'not for political grounds but for violations of law.'

B. The Constitution, in Article 65(1), provides for the grounds of impeachment that "the National Assembly may resolve to impeach the President, ... upon violation of the Constitution or statutes by the President, ... in performing official duties."
(1) All state institutions are bound by the Constitution. Especial- ly, the legislator should abide by the Constitution in the legislative process and the executive branch and the judicial branch are bound by the Constitution in exercising the state authority vested by and under the Constitution. Article 65 of the Constitution reemphasizes that the state institutions of the executive and the judicial branches are bound by the Constitution and statutes, and, on this very ground, sets forth the grounds for impeachment to be the violation of the Constitution and statutes, not limiting the grounds merely to the vio- lation of the Constitution. The question of whether the executive branch and the judicial branch abide by the statutes formed by the legislative branch is directly related to the question of their compli- ance with the doctrine of separation of powers and the principle of the rule of law under the Constitution. Therefore, observance of the statutes by the executive and the judicial branches means, in turn, their compliance with the constitutional order.
(2) An analysis of the specific grounds for impeachment set forth in Article 65 of the Constitution here reveals that the 'official duties' as provided in 'exercising the official duties' mean the duties that are inherent in particular governmental offices as provided by law and also other duties related thereto as commonly understood. Therefore, acts in exercising official duties mean any and all acts or activities necessary for or concomitant with the nature of a specific public office under the relevant statutes, orders, regulations, or administrative customs and practices. Thus, the act of the President in exercising official duties is a concept not only including an act based on perti- nent statutes, orders, or regulations, but also encompassing any act performed by the President in his or her office as President with respect to the implementation of state affairs,' and includes any such acts, for example, visiting various organizations and industrial sites, participating in various events such as a dedication ceremony and an official dinner, appearing through the broadcasting media to explain government policies in order to seek the public understanding thereof and to efficiently implement national policies, and agreeing to hold a press conference. The Constitution sets forth the grounds for impeachment as a "violation of the Constitution or statutes." The 'Constitution' here includes the unwritten constitution formed and established by the precedents of the Constitutional Court as well as the express consti- tutional provisions; the 'statutes' include not only the statutes in their formal meaning, but also, for example, international treaties that are provided with the same force as statutes, and the interna- tional law that is generally approved.

5. Whether the respondent violated the Constitution or statutes in exercising his official duties[edit]

Article 53(1) of the Constitutional Court Act provides that the "Constitutional Court shall issue a decision removing the respondent from office should the grounds for the impeachment petition be valid." Therefore, in order to determine whether to issue a decision to remove the President from office, an examination should precede upon the ex- istence of the grounds for impeachment set forth in the Constitution, i.e., whether the 'President violated the Constitution or statutes in the performance of his official duties.' In the immediately following paragraphs, we will examine each of the grounds for impeachment stated in the impeachment resolution of the National Assembly under the respective categories.

A. Act of supporting a particular political party at a press conference (the statements at the press conference with six of the Seoul-Incheon area news media organizations on February 18, 2004, and as an invited guest at the press conference with the Korean Network Reporters Club on February 24, 2004)

Pursuant to the acknowledged facts, the President stated, at a press conference on February 18, 2004 with six of the Seoul-Incheon area news media organizations, that "... I simply cannot utter what will follow should the quorum to resist the constitution revision be destroyed"; and, at a press conference with the Korean Network Reporters Club, as an invited guest, which was broadcasted nation- wide on February 24, 2004, in response to a question posed by a reporter concerning the upcoming general election that 'how the respondent would run the political affairs if the Uri Party would remain as a minority party unlike the anticipation of Chung Dong-young, the Chairman of the Uri Party, projecting about 100 seats as a goal,' the respondent stated that "I expect that the public will overwhelmingly support the Uri Party," "I would like to do anything that is legal if it may lead to the votes for the Uri Party," and "when they elected Roh Moo-hyun as the President, the public will make it clear whether I will be backed to do it well for the four years to come or I cannot stand it and will be forced to step down."

On the other hand, no arbitrary amendment to the impeachment resolution by the impeaching party in order to add new facts not stated in the original resolution is permitted in the impeachment adjudication proceeding. The statement of the President made on March 11, 2004 that 'connected the general election to the matter of confidence of the President' is a fact not included in the original impeachment resolution of the National Assembly and merely stated in the impeaching party's brief submitted to the Court as an addition- al ground for impeachment subsequent to the National Assembly's resolution of impeachment and, as such, the Court does not examine such additionally stated ground.

(1) Obligation of a public official to maintain political neutrality concerning elections
The political neutrality obligation concerning elections owed by public officials is a constitutional request drawn from the status of public officials set forth in Section 1, Article 7, of the Constitution; the principle of free election set forth in Section 1, Article 41, and Section 1, Article 67, of the Constitution; and the equal opportunity among the political parties guaranteed by Section 1, Article 116 of the Constitution.
(A) Article 7(1) of the Constitution provides that "all public offi- cials shall be servants of the entire people and shall be responsible to the people," thereby setting forth that the public officials shall perform their official duties for the welfare of the public as a whole and should not serve the interest of a particular political party or organization. The status and the responsibility of the state institutions as the servant for the entire citizenry is, in the area of election, realized in concrete terms as the 'obligation of the state institutions to maintain neutrality concerning elections.' The state institutions should serve the entire population, therefore, should act neutrally in the competition among the political parties or political factions. Thus, Article 7(1) of the Constitution mandates that no state institution should exercise influence in the free competition among political factions by identify- ing itself with a particular political party or a candidate or taking sides with a particular political party or a candidate in electoral campaigns by use of the influence and authority vested in the office.
(B) Articles 41(1) and 67(1) of the Constitution provide for the principles applicable to the general election for members of the Nation- al Assembly and the presidential election, respectively. Although such provisions do not expressly mention the principle of free election, in order for any election to properly represent the political will of the public, the voters should be able to form and decide their own opinions through a free and open process without undue extraneous influence. Therefore, the principle of free election is part of the fun- damental principles of election as a basic premise to provide legitimacy for the state institutions constituted by and through an election.
The principle of free election not only means that the voters should be able to vote without forceful or undue influence from the state or the society, but also that the voters should be able to make their own judgment and decisions in a free and open process to form their own opinions. The principle of free election, in turn, in the context of state institutions, means the 'obligation of public officials to maintain neutrality,' that is, the prohibition against the state institutions from supporting or opposing any particular political party or candidate by identifying themselves with such particular political party or candidate.
(C) The obligation of public officials to maintain neutrality con- cerning elections is mandated by the Constitution also from the standpoint of equal opportunity among the political parties. The prin- ciple of equal opportunity among the political parties is a constitution- al principle derived from the interrelationship of Article 8(1) of the Constitution that guarantees the freedom to form a political party and the multi-party system and Article 11 of the Constitution that sets forth the principle of equality. Particularly, Article 116(1) of the Constitution provides that "an equal opportunity should be guar- anteed ... in the electoral campaign," thereby specifying the 'principle of equal opportunity among the political parties' concerning the political campaign. The principle of equal opportunity among the political parties requires state institutions to act neutrally in the competition among political parties at the elections, thus prohibiting the state in- stitutions from either favoring or prejudicing any particular political party or candidate in the electoral campaign.
(2) Whether the respondent violated Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act (neutrality obligation of a public official)
Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act provides that "no public official or no one obligated to maintain political neutrality should act in a way unduly influencing the election or otherwise affecting the outcome of the election," and thereby provides for the 'obligation of public officials to maintain neutrality concerning elections.'
(A) Whether the President is a 'public official' within the mean- ing of Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act
The issue here is whether the officials at certain political offices such as the President fall within the definition of a 'public official or anyone obligated to maintain political neutrality' of Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act.
1) Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act is a statutory provision that specifies and realizes the constitutionally requested 'obligation of public officials to maintain neutrality concerning elections,' derived from Article 7(1) (status of a public official as a servant for the public as a whole), Article 41, Article 67 (principle of free election) and Article 116 (principle of equal opportunity among the political parties) of the Constitution. Therefore, the 'public official' within the meaning of Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act means any and all public officials who should be obligated to maintain neutrality concerning elections, that is, more particularly, any or all public officials who are in a position to threaten the 'principle of free election' and 'equal opportunity among the political parties at the election.' Considering that practically all public officials are in a position to exercise undue influence upon the election in the course of exercising through exercise of their official duties, public officials here include, in principle, all public officials of the national and local governments, that is, all career public officials as narrowly defined, and, further include public officials at offices of political nature who serve the state through active political activities (for example, the President, the Prime Minister, the ministers of the administration, and the chief executive officer at various levels of local government such as the governor, the mayor, and the county magistrate).
The possibility of affecting the public's open opinion formulation process and distorting the political parties' competitive relationship through the function and influence of the official duties is particular- ly greater for the executive institutions at the national or local gov- ernments. Therefore, political neutrality concerning elections is even more greatly requested than other public officials for the President and the chief executive officers at the local governments.
2) Obligating public officials to maintain neutrality concerning elections in Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act is a mere specification of the constitutional request of the principle of free elec- tion, the principle of equal opportunity among the political parties, and the 'obligation of public officials to maintain neutrality concerning elections' derived from Article 7(1) of the Constitution, made applica- ble to public officials in the area of election law. Thus, such provi- sion is constitutional as long as it is interpreted to exclude the mem- bers of the National Assembly and the members of the local legislatures from whom political neutrality concerning elections cannot be requested.
The members of the National Assembly and the members of the local legislatures are not 'public officials' within the meaning of Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act, due to their status as political party representatives and as active figures at the electoral campaign. The state institutions bear the obligation to maintain neutrality con- cerning elections, in order to provide a 'forum for free competition' where the political parties can compete fairly at the election. In such 'free competition among the political parties' guaranteed by the state's neutrality obligation, the members of the National Assembly play an active role at the electoral campaigns as the representatives of their respective political parties. That is, whereas the state institutions ad- ministrate the election and should not affect the election as the insti- tutions that are mandated to guarantee a fair election, the political parties, on the other hand, are premised on the mission to affect the election.
3) Also, a systematic analysis of the meaning of 'public officials' in Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act in its interrelationship with other provisions of the Public Officials Election Act or with other statutes mandates an interpretation that the concept of 'public offi- cials' in the Public Officials Election Act includes all public officials at political offices with the exception of the members of the Nation- al Assembly and of the local legislatures. For example, the Public Officials Election Act uses 'public officials' as a general term to include public officials at political offices in its Article 60(1)(ⅳ) that pro- hibits, in principle, the political campaign of public officials and also in Article 86(1) that prohibits the acts of public officials influencing the election. Furthermore, in such other statutes as the State Public Officials Act (in Article 2 and other provisions) and the Political Party Act (in Article 6 and other provisions), the term 'public official' is used inclusive of public officials at political offices.
4) Therefore, political neutrality concerning elections is a basic obligation of all public officials of the executive branch and the judi- ciary. Furthermore, since the President bears the obligation to over- see and manage a fair electoral process as the head of the executive branch, the President is, as a matter of course, a 'public official' within the meaning of Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act.
(B) The President as a 'constitutional institution of a political nature' and the 'obligation to maintain neutrality concerning elections'
The fact that the President is a 'constitutional institution of a political nature' is a distinct matter and should thus be distinguished from the question of whether the President bears the 'obligation to maintain political neutrality concerning elections.' The President, in ordinary circumstances, is elected through the electoral campaign endorsed and supported by a political party, as a party member. Therefore, the President generally maintains party membership after being elected as the President and also retains an affiliation with such particular political party. Current law also pro- vides that the President may maintain party membership (Article 6(1) of the Political Party Act) and thus permits party activities, unlike in the case of other career public officials who are not allowed to be a member of a political party.
However, the President is not an institution that implements the policies of the ruling party, but instead, the President is the constitu- tional institution that is obligated to serve and realize the public in- terest as the head of the executive branch. The President is not the President merely for part of the population or a certain particular political faction that supported him or her at the past election, but he or she is the President of the entire community organized as the state and is the President for the entire constituents. The President is obligated to unify the social community by serving the entire pop- ulation beyond that segment of the population supporting him or her. The status of the President as the servant of the entire public is specified, in the context of election, as the status of ultimately over- seeing a fair election, and the Public Officials Election Act therefore prohibits a political campaign by the President (Article 60(1)(iv) of the Public Officials Election Act).
Therefore, neither the fact that the President is a public official of a political nature who is elected through nomination and support by a political party nor the fact that certain political and party activ- ities of the President are permitted can serve as a valid ground for denying the obligation owed by the President to maintain political neutrality concerning elections.
(C) The President's 'obligation of political neutrality' concerning elections and 'freedom to express political opinions'
Every person in public office is obligated to maintain political neutrality concerning elections; on the other hand, at the same time such person is a citizen of the state and is subject of basic rights who may assert his or her own basic rights against the state. Like- wise, in the case of the presidency, the status of the President as a private citizen who may perform party activities for the party of his of her membership and the status of the President as a constitutional institution bearing the obligation to serve the entire population and the public welfare should be distinguished as two distinct concepts.
The mandate that the President should maintain political neutrality concerning elections does not require no political activities or indif- ference to party politics on the part of the President. Unlike other public officials who are prevented from any party activities, the President, as a member or an officer of a political party, may not only be involved with the internal decisionmaking process of the party and perform ordinary party activities, but also may participate in the party convention to express his or her political opinions and express support for the party of his or her membership. However, at the same time, even when the President exercises his or her free- dom of expression as a political figure, the President should restrain and limit himself or herself in light of the significance of the office of the presidency and the potential reflections of his or her remarks and acts, and should not make an impression towards the public that the President may no more fairly exercise presidential duties due to his or her political activities outside the presidential duties. Further- more, since the ultimate noticeability of the President obscures the President's 'exercise of basic rights as a private citizen' and 'activity within the boundary of the presidential duties,' the President, even in the case where the President is exercising the freedom of speech as a private citizen and performing party activities, should do so in a way appropriate to a harmonious implementation of the presidency and the maintenance of the functions thereof, that is, in accordance with the request of Article 7(1) of the Constitution that the President should serve the entire public.
Therefore, the President should, in principle, restrain himself or herself from expressing his or her personal opinions towards party politics when exercising duties as the head of the state or the chief executive officer. Furthermore, when the President makes statements concerning elections as the state institution of president and not as a party member or as a mere political figure, the President is bound by the obligation to maintain political neutrality concerning elections.
(D) Violation of Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act
Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act provides that "no public official shall exercise undue influence upon the election or otherwise affect the outcome of the election," thereby setting forth acts to be prohibited in order to realize the obligation of public officials to main- tain neutrality concerning elections. Specifically, Article 9 of the Public Official Act provides the 'act affecting the outcome of the election' as the violation of the neutrality obligation, and mentions the 'exercise of undue influence upon the election' as a typical example therefor.
Therefore, the question of whether the President violated the neutrality obligation concerning elections depends upon whether the Pres- ident 'exercised undue influence upon the election,' and should a public servant affect the election by taking advantage of the political weight and influence vested in the official duties in a way not appropriate for the mission to serve and be held responsible for the entire public or residents, such is beyond the boundaries of political activities permitted for a public official at the election, thus constituting an act of exercising undue influence upon the election.
Thus, if a public official is acting in the status of a public servant and taking advantage of the influence vested in the public duties, undue influence upon the election is found to be exercised, thus constituting a violation of the neutrality obligation concerning elections.
(E) Whether the statements of the President violated the neutrality obligation owed by public officials
Whether the statements of the President violated Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act depends upon the judgment as to 'whether the President affected the election through his statements by taking advantage of the political weight and influence of the public office of presidency in a way that was not appropriate for his status to serve the entire national public' in light of the specific contents of the statements, their timing and frequency, and the specific circum- stance thereof.
1) The statements of the President at issue herein should be deemed to have been made in the president's status as a public servant and in implementing the official duties of the President or in relation thereto. The President held the above press conferences not as a private citizen or a mere political figure, but as the President, and the President, in such course, made the statements supporting a particular political party by taking advantage of the political weight and influence vested in his status as the President. Therefore, the statements made by the President at the above press conferences constitute an act 'in the performance of his official duties' within the meaning of Article 65(1) of the Constitution.
2) In the case of the general election to constitute the National Assembly, general parliamentary activities of the individual assembly- persons, the political parties, and the negotiating parties during the four-year term function as an important and meaningful indicator for the voters to form their judgment at the next election. Especially during the period designated for the electoral campaign under the Public Officials Election Act, the political parties, the negotiating parties and the individual candidates are involved in a feverous competition in order to obtain the trust and a vote from the voters in every possible legitimate way, by presenting their policies and political designs and criticizing the policies of the opposing parties or candidates in competition.
Here, if the President makes a statement unilaterally supporting a particular political party and influences the process by which the public forms its opinions, the President thereby intervenes and distorts the process of the independent formation of the public's opinions based on a just evaluation of the political parties and the candidates. This, at the same time, diminishes by half the meaning of the political activities continuously done by the political parties and the candidates in the past several years in order to obtain the trust of the public, and thereby gravely depreciates the principle of parliamentary democ- racy. An electoral campaign in a democratic country is a free and open competition for multiple parties and candidates, with a goal to obtain political power, to seek a vote, by emphasizing their political activities and achievements during the past and by convincing the voters of the legitimacy of the policy they pursue. Such free competition relationship among the political parties to obtain the votes through the voters' judgment upon the policies and political activities is significantly perverted by one-sided intervention of the President supporting a particular party.
The relevant part of the President's statements at issue repeatedly and actively expressed his support for a particular political party in the course of performing his official duties and further directly appealed to the public for the support of that particular political party. Therefore, the President's taking advantage of his political weight and influence vested in his public office through the above statements favoring a particular political party, by way of identifying himself with such political party, was an exercise of undue influence in a way not appropriate for his responsibility as a servant for the entire public by the use of his status as a state institution. The President thereby violated his obligation to maintain neutrality concerning elections.
3) The judgment upon whether there was undue influence on the election may also vary depending upon the timing certain statements supporting a particular party were made. Should a statement as such be made at a time where there is no temporally intimate relation to an election, there is only a remote or limited possibility for such statements to affect the outcome of the election. However, as the election approaches, the possibility for the President's statement supporting a particular political party to affect the outcome of the election increases, therefore the President bears during such time period, as a state institution, an obligation to restrain, as much as possible, any and all acts that may unfairly influence the election.
Although it is not possible to clearly discern when an one-sided act of the state institution begins to particularly affect the election, the statements by the President at issue herein were made on Febru- ary 18, 2004 and February 24, 2004, with approximately two months remaining before the general election for the National Assembly on April 15, 2004. Thus, at that time, there existed a temporal intimacy between the statements and the election as the preparation for the electoral campaign had practically begun and the probability of the act of a state institution to influence the election was relatively high, and there was an increased demand for the political neutrality of state institutions at least during that period of time.
4) The President, then, violated the obligation to maintain neu- trality concerning elections, by making the statements at the press conferences toward the entire public in support of a particular polit- ical party by taking advantage of the political weight and influence of the presidency, when the political neutrality of public official was highly demanded more than ever due to the temporal proximity to the election, while the President is ultimately responsible to oversee a fair administration of election, since such statements constituted acts performed using the respondent's status as the President unduly in- fluencing the election and thereby affecting the outcome of the election.
(3) Whether the respondent violated Article 60 of the Public Officials Election Act(prohibition of electoral campaign by public official)
(A) Definition of electoral campaign
Article 58(1) of the Public Officials Election Act defines the term 'electoral campaign' as an 'activity for winning an election or for having another person be or not be elected.' The Public Officials Election Act, in a proviso in the same provision, lists certain 'acts not deemed to constitute electoral campaign,' which are: mere expres- sion of opinion toward election, preparatory activity to register as a candidate and for electoral campaign, mere expression of opinion in agreement or disagreement toward the parties' recommendation of the candidates, and ordinary party activities.
Pursuant to the precedents of the Constitutional Court, the 'elec- toral campaign' under Article 58(1) of the Public Officials Election Act is any and all active and premeditated deeds for a specific can- didate's winning the election and obtaining the votes therefore, or any and all active and premeditated deeds to have a specific candi- date lose the election, among which there is an objective intent to win or to have win or lose the election (6-2 KCCR 15, 33, 93Hun-Ka4, July 29, 1994; 13-2 KCCR 263, 274, 2000Hun-Ma121, August 30, 2001).
The important standard in determining whether a specific act falls within the definition of electoral campaign is the existence of the required 'intent,' whereas other nature of 'activeness' or 'premed- itatedness' is a secondary element that contributes to an objective finding and analyzing of the required 'intent' of the electoral campaign. Since the 'purposeful intent' of the actor is a highly subjective element and it is difficult to discern such element, such element may be found to a certain extent of objectivity through other 'subjective elements that can be objectified' in relative terms of the 'activeness' of the deed or the 'premeditatedness' thereof.
(B) Whether the statements of the President constituted electoral campaign
1) Article 58(1) of the Public Officials Election Act makes it a prerequisite for the electoral campaign 'whether or not a candidate can be specified,' by adopting the standard of 'being elected' in defining the concept of 'electoral campaign.' Therefore, the concept of electoral campaign is premised upon that it should be an activity to have win or lose a 'specific' or at least 'discernible' candidate. Although a statement supporting a specific political party may satisfy the definition of electoral campaign since an activity intended to obtain votes for a specific political party inevitably means an activity intended to have the candidate nominated by that party in a certain district, even in such circumstances, a candidate intended to have win through such statement must be discernible. When the statements at issue in this case were made on Febru- ary 18, 2004 and February 24, 2004, the party-endorsed candidates had not yet been determined. Therefore, the statement supporting a particular political party when the party-endorsed candidates were not specified did not constitute an electoral campaign.
2) Also, whereas an activity requires a 'purposeful intent' to have a certain candidate win or lose an election in order for such activity to constitute an electoral campaign, there was no such purposeful intent in the statements at issue in the instant case.
A) In order for an election to properly represent the political will of the public, the voters should be able to make their decisions in a free and open process to form their own opinions. At the same time, the voters may make truly free decisions as voters only when they are aware of which candidates advocate and intend to implement the policies they support and are correctly informed of the candidates and the policy directions among which they can choose. Therefore, in terms of the public's right to know, it is required, as the election approaches, to provide certain information that may form the basis of the voters' decision or the information as to the parties and the candidates, through various means such as press conferences.
Therefore, strictly including all of the statements at a press con- ference in the definition of the electoral campaign would excessively limit the freedom of expression of a political figure. Especially, when the current Public Officials Election Act permits electoral campaigns only during a short period designated for such, and even additionally limits the electoral campaigns in various terms such as their subjects and means, defining the term 'electoral campaign' too loosely might mean an even further shrinking of the scope of freedom of political activities given to the public.
Then, a statement at a press conference does not, in itself, cons- titute an electoral campaign and likewise is not, in itself, excluded from the activities constituting an electoral campaign. Rather, more than anything else, whether a 'purposeful intent of a considerable degree to perform an electoral campaign by taking advantage of such opportu- nities as press conferences can be found' should be determined on a case-by-case basis, considering the totality of the specific aspects of the activity, such as the timing of the statement, its content, venue, and context. Here, the activeness and the premeditatedness of the statement operates as an important standard in perceiving 'purposeful intent.'
B) In the instant case, although the statements at issue were made in a close temporal proximity to the approaching general election of April 15, 2004, such statements, in terms of the content and the specific circumstance of the statements, were made in the form of a response to the question posed by the reporters at the press confer- ences, thus in a passive and unintentional way. Considering this, no element of activeness or premeditatedness towards an electoral campaign is found in the statements of the President. Therefore, such statements lacked any purposeful intent of a considerable degree suffi- cient to constitute an electoral campaign.
3) Therefore, although the statements of the respondent pleaded to the public for their support of the Uri Party, such statements cannot be deemed as an act of an active and intentional electoral campaign to have specific or discernible candidates win or lose the election. Thus, the respondent's act in relevant part did not violate Article 60(1) of the Public Officials Election Act or its punishment provision of Article 255(1) of the Act.
(4) Whether the respondent violated Articles 85(1) or 86(1) of the Public Officials Election Act
Article 85(1) of the Public Officials Election Act prohibits public officials from conducting electoral campaigns using their status as such, and deems electoral campaigns by public officials toward other officers of the same public office or the employees and officers of a particular institution or business as an electoral campaign by way of his or her status as a public official.
However, as discussed above, the statements of the respondent at issue herein do not constitute electoral campaign activities, and therefore such statements did not violate Article 85(1) of the Public Officials Election Act without further reviewing the same.
Article 86(1) of the Public Officials Election Act prohibits various election-related activities of a public official. First, Subdivision (i) prohibits an act publicizing the achievements of a specific party or a candidate towards other officers of the same public office or the constituents within the election district. The respondent's statements do not contain any that publicized the achievements of the Uri Party, thus Subdivision (i) does not apply herein. Next, Subdivisions (ii) through (vii) are clearly inapplicable to the respondent's statements in terms of the constituting elements in themselves. Therefore, there was no violation of Article 86(1) of the Public Officials Election Act.
B. Other remarks concerning the general election
(1) Remark at the Remember 1219 event on December 19, 2003
Pursuant to the acknowledged facts, the President on December 19, 2003, participated in the event entitled "Remember 1219" hosted by the reform netizen front such as the Roh-Sa-Mo, and stated that "your revolution is yet to be concluded," "The citizen revolution is still going on at this very moment," and that "my dear respected members of Roh-Sa-Mo, and citizens, let's step forward once again."
The above statements were made at an event to celebrate the one-year anniversary of President Roh's election as the President, while invited to the event. It was hosted by certain associations that supported President Roh at the election such as Roh-Sa-Mo. Reviewed in the whole context, the above statements were to plead for partic- ipation in election reform ('fair election where money is not required') or political reform, or simply to 'generally ask for the support of the President himself,' and, as such, can hardly be deemed as statements seeking the support for a particular political party concerning the election or inciting illegal an electoral campaign by the citizen organizations. Therefore, the above statements of the President were not beyond the boundaries of permissible expression of opinions toward politics and did not constitute a violation of the political neutrality obligation concerning elections or an electoral campaign activity prior to the permitted time period. Also, such statements did not constitute a violation for any other statutes.
However, such an one-sided act of the President toward a specific citizen organization might well cause a division between the groups of citizens supporting the President and the groups of citizens not sup- porting the President and, thereby, does not conform to the obligation of the President to unify the national community as the President of the entire public, which might lead to the public's distrust against the administration as a whole.
(2) Remark at the luncheon with former presidential aides on December 24, 2003 at Cheong Wa Dae
Pursuant to the acknowledged facts, the President on December 24, 2003, at a luncheon at Cheong Wa Dae with nine others including his former presidential aides who had resigned in order to run for the general election, stated that "the next year's general election will have a polarized structure between the Grand National Party and the President with the Uri Party on the other side," and that "a vote for the New Millennium Democratic Party at next year's election will be conceived as support for the Grand National Party."
In this case of a luncheon at Cheong Wa Dae hosted by the Pre- sident and the first lady for the former Cheong Wa Dae aides and the administrative officers, the nature of the meeting was private rather than one hosted by the President in his official status as the President. The content of the statements can hardly be deemed as statements intended by the President to unduly influence the election by taking advantage of the political influence of his official status. The above statements of the President, considering altogether the other party of the speech, the context thereof and the motive therefor, were acts justified by the freedom of expression under the Constitution as an exercise of the freedom to express opinion towards politics, and did not exceed the limits on the political activities permitted for public officials of political offices.
(3) Remark at the beginning-of-the-year press conference on January 14, 2004
Pursuant to the acknowledged facts, the President at the beginning- of-the-year press conference on January 14, 2004, stated that "there was a split because there were those who supported reform and those who did not support reform fearing it, and I would like to go together with the Uri Party as those who supported me at the presidential election are running the Uri Party." The above statement was made as a response to a reporter's question asking 'when the President would join the Uri Party,' and, as such, was a mere expression by the President, who is permitted to have party membership, stating the party that he supported and his position as to whether he would join such party and, if so, when. Therefore, since the President did not intend through the above statements to support a particular political party concerning the election or thereby to influence the election, the above statement did not con- stitute a violation of the neutrality obligation concerning elections owed by public officials or an electoral campaign activity.
(4) Remark at the meeting with the Gangwon-Do region journalists on February 5, 2004
Pursuant to the acknowledged facts, the President at the meeting with the journalists in the Gangwon-Do region on February 5, 2004, stated that "the Citizen Participation 0415 (Kook-Cham 0415) members' participation in politics should be permitted and encouraged both legally and politically."
The above statement was made as a response to the question asking the "President's opinion as to the debate concerning the Citizen Partici- pation 0415's activities declaring to have certain candidates win the election as illegal intervention into the election." As such, the state- ment is understood to mean that, 'in order to be an advanced electoral culture, we should encourage voluntary participation and activities of the citizenry, and in order to achieve this goal the citizen partici- pation in politics should be legally permitted as widely as possible, and at the least a generous legal interpretation is required as long as it is not against the law.' Therefore, the above statement was a mere expression of the respondent's personal opinion upon the aspect of the public participation in politics, and thereby did not constitute a violation of the neutrality obligation concerning elections or the pro- hibition of electoral campaign activities.
(5) The "Uri Party Strategy for the 17th General Election" reported in Joong-Ang Ilbo dated February 27, 2004
The Joong-Ang Ilbo reported with respect to a classified document entitled "Uri Party Strategy for the 17th General Election" on Febru- ary 27, 2004, which posed suspicion as to the organizational intervention of Cheong Wa Dae into the election. However, even under the entire evidence submitted and accepted during the proceedings in this case, there is no finding that the respondent directed or was involved in the election strategy of the Uri Party. Therefore, there is no valid ground for impeachment in this regard.
(6) Act interfering with free election by threatening the public
With respect to the ground for impeachment under this count, there is no specific facts alleged in this regard, instead, the impeachment resolution merely alleges that the respondent interfered with the public's free election by 'inducing support for a particular political party by threatening the public and by repeatedly making statements affecting the public's will concerning the general election.' There is no factual basis to find that the respondent's statements concerning the election had a pervasive effect in the general community of public officials thereby actually affecting negatively upon the neutrality of public offi- cials at the election, that the executive organization of which the respondent is the chief officer intervened in the election for a partic- ular political party, or that the function of the election management commission was impeded upon. Nor is it plausible to deem that the respondent thereby interfered with or distorted the unbridled formation of the public's will concerning the election or interfered with the free exercise of voting rights.
Therefore, the respondent's statements neither interfered with free election nor did such statements violate Article 237(1)(iii) of the Public Officials Election Act providing for the crime of interfering with the election.
C. Acts at issue with respect to the obligation to abide by and protect the Constitution (Articles 66(2) and 69 of the Constitution)
(1) The President's obligation to abide by and protect the Constitution
Article 66 of the Constitution, in Section 2, 'obligates' the Pres- ident 'to protect the independence of the state, the preservation of the territorial integrity, the continuity of the state, and the nation's Constitution,' and in Section 3 'obligates' the President 'to faithfully endeavor for the peaceful reunification of the nation.' Article 69 of the Constitution obligates the President to take an oath of office, the content of which corresponds to such obligations. Article 69 of the Constitution not only sets forth the obligation of the President to take an oath of office, but also functions as a substantive provision specifying and emphasizing the constitutional obligations of the Pres- ident under Article 66(2) and Article 66(3) of the Constitution.
The 'obligation to abide by and protect the Constitution' of the President set forth in Articles 66(2) and 69 of the Constitution is the constitutional manifestation that specifies the constitutional principle of government by the rule of law in relation to the President's per- formance of official duties. Expressed only in summary, the fundamental element of the principle of the rule of law, which is a basic constitu- tional principle, is that any and all operation of the state shall be by the 'Constitution' and the 'statutes' enacted by the legislature consisting of the representatives of the people and that any and all exercise of the state authority shall be the object of the judicial control in the form of administrative adjudication for the executive function and constitutional adjudication for the legislative function. Accordingly, the legislature is bound by the constitution, and the executive and the judicial branches of the government implementing and applying the law, respectively, are bound by the Constitution and the statutes. Therefore, the President, as the chief of the executive branch, is cons- titutionally mandated to respect and abide by the constitution and the statutes.
While the 'obligation to abide by and protect the Constitution' is a norm derived from the principle of government by the rule of law, the Constitution repeatedly emphasizes such obligation of the President in Articles 66(2) and 69, considering the significance of the status of the President as the head of the state and the chief of the executive branch. Under the spirit of the Constitution as such, the President is the 'symbolic existence personifying the rule of law and the observance of law' toward the entire public. Accordingly, the President should not only make every possible effort to protect and realize the Constitution, but also abide by the law and perform no act in violation of any of the valid law. Furthermore, the President should do all acts in order to implement the objective will of the legislator. The obligation of the executive branch of the government to respect and implement the law is equally applicable to the statutes that the executive branch deems unconstitutional. Since the Constitutional Court alone is vested with the authority under the Constitution to remove a statute that is unconstitutional, even if the executive branch suspects a particular statute to be unconstitutional, the executive branch should make every possible effort to respect and implement the law unless and until the Constitutional Court holds such statute unconstitutional.
(2) Acts of the President to the National Election Commis- sion's decision that the President violated the election law
(A) Pursuant to the acknowledged facts, President Roh Moo-hyun stated through Lee Byung-wan, the Senior Secretary to the President for Public Information, on March 4, 2004, as the position of Cheong Wa Dae concerning the National Election Commission's decision warning him of his undue intervention into the election that "I would like to make it clear that the decision of the National Election Commission at this time is not convincing," "Now we should change both the institution and the custom under the standard of advanced democracy," "The election-related law of the past when the president mobilized ... the state institutions should now be reformed rationally," and "The interpretation of the election law and the decision concerning the election law should also be adjusted in conformity with such different culture surrounding the state authority and new trend of the time." Although the above stated position of Cheong Wa Dae on March 4, 2004 to the National Election Commission's decision was, internally, a position reached at a meeting of senior presidential secretaries, all of the positions of Cheong Wa Dae that are publicly announced revert, in principle, to the President. Particularly in this case, the acknowledged facts indicate that the Office of the President reported the outcome of the meeting to the President and held the briefing at issue upon the President's approval. Therefore, the above statements made by the Senior Secretary to the President for Public Information should be deemed as acts of the President himself. The purport of the above statements announced by the Senior Secretary to the President for Public Information is that the President expressed unsatisfaction toward the National Election Commission's decision and denigrated the current election law as the 'vestige of the era of the government-power-interfered elections.'
(B) The President's acts denigrating the current law as the 'vestige of the era of the government-power-interfered elections' and publicly questioning the constitutionality and the legitimacy of the statute from his status as the President do not conform to the obligation to abide by and protect the Constitution and statutes. Should the President suspect the constitutionality of a bill passed by the National Assembly or suspect that such a bill can be improved, the President should ask for reconsideration by returning such bill to the National Assembly (Article 53(2) of the Constitution), and should the President doubt the constitutionality of a current statute, the President should perform his or her obligation to implement the Constitution by, for example, having the administration review the constitutionality of such statute and thereby introduce a bill to revise such statute or revising the statute in a constitutional manner through the support of the National Assembly (Article 52 of the Constitution). Even if the President suspects the constitutionality of a statute, questioning the constitutionality of such statute itself in front of the national public constitutes a violation of the President's obligation to protect the Constitution. The President, of course, may express his or her own position and belief regarding the direction for revising the current statutes as a political figure. However, it is of great importance that in which circumstances and in which relations such discussions on possible statutory revisions take place. The President's statements denigrating the current election statutes by comparing them to the equivalent foreign legislations as a response to and in the context of the National Election Commission's warning for the violation of such election statutes cannot be deemed as an attitude respecting the law.
The statements as such made by the President, who should serve as a good example for all public officials, might have significantly negative influence on the realization of a government by the rule of law, by gravely affecting the other public officials obligated to respect and abide by the law and, further, by lowering the public's awareness to abide by the law. Namely, it cannot be denied that an obscure attitude or a reserved position of the President toward government by the rule of law gravely affects the nation as a whole and the con- stitutional order. When the President himself or herself fails to respect and abide by the law, no citizen, let alone no other public officials, can be demanded to abide by the law.
(C) To conclude, the act of the President questioning the legitimacy and the normative power of the current statute in front of the public is against the principle of government by the rule of law and is in violation of the obligation to protect the Constitution.
(3) Act of suggesting a confidence vote in the form of a national referendum on October 13, 2003
Since the National Assembly's impeachment resolution specifically mentions the President's 'unconstitutional suggestion to have a confi- dence referendum' with respect to its third stated ground for impeachment of 'unfaithful performance of official duties and reckless admin- istration of state affairs' and the National Assembly further specified on this issue in its brief submitted subsequent to the initiation of the impeachment adjudication, we examine this issue as a subject matter of this impeachment adjudication.
(A) The President, during 'his speech' at the National Assembly on October 13, 2003 'concerning the budget for fiscal year of 2004,' stated that "I announced last week that I would submit myself for public confidence. ... Although it is not a matter that I can determine, I think a national referendum is a correct way to do this. Although there are disputes as to legal issues, I think it is feasible even under the current law by interpreting the 'matters concerning national secu- rity' more broadly, should there be a political agreement," thereby suggesting a confidence vote to be instituted in December of 2003. Debates concerning the constitutional permissibility of a confidence vote were thereby caused. Finally, such debates upon the constitutionality of a confidence referendum reached the Constitutional Court through a constitutional petition, but the Constitutional Court, in its majority opinion of five Justices in 2003Hun-Ma694 (issued on November 27, 2003), dismissed such constitutional petition on the ground that the 'act of the President that is the subject matter of the case was not an act accompanying legal effect but an expression of a mere political plan, therefore did not constitute an exercise of governmental power.'
(B) Article 72 of the Constitution vests in the President the author- ity to institute national referendum by providing that the "President may submit important policies relating to diplomacy, national defense, unification and other matters relating to the national destiny to a na- tional referendum if he or she deems it necessary. Article 72 of the Constitution connotes a danger that the President might use national referendum as a political weapon and politically abuse such device by employing it to further legitimize his or her policy and to strengthen his or her political position beyond as a mere means to confirm the will of the public toward a specific policy, as the President monop- olizes the discretionary authority to institute national referendum including the authority to decide whether to institute a national referendum, its timing, and the specific agendas to be voted on and the questions to be asked at the referendum, under Article 72 of the Constitution. Thus, Article 72 of the Constitution vesting within the President the authority to institute a national referendum should be strictly and narrowly interpreted in order to prevent the political abuse of national referendum by the President.
(C) From this standpoint, the 'important policy matters' that can be subjected to a national referendum under Article 72 of the Constitution do not include the 'trust of the public' in the President.
An election is for the 'decision on persons,' that is, an election is to determine the representatives of the public as a premise to make representative democracy possible. By contrast, the national referendum is a means to realize direct democracy, and its object or subject matter is the 'decision on issues,' that is, specific state policies or legislative bills. Therefore, by the own nature of the national re- ferendum, the 'confidence the public has in its representative' cannot be a subject matter for a national referendum and the decision of and the confidence in the representative under our Constitution may be performed and manifested solely through elections. The President's attempt to reconfirm the public's trust in him that was obtained through the past election in the form of a referendum constitutes an unconstitutional use of the institution of a national referendum provided in Article 72 of the Constitution in a way not permitted by the Con- stitution.
The Constitution does not permit the President to ask the public's trust in him by way of national referendum. The constitution further prohibits as an unconstitutional act the act of the President subjecting a specific policy to a referendum and linking the matter of confidence thereto. Of course, when the President institutes a referendum for a specific policy and fails to obtain the consent of the public concerning the implementation of such policy, the President may possibly resign by regarding such outcome as public's distrust in him or her. How- ever, should the President submit a policy matter to a referendum and declare at the same time that "I shall regard the outcome of the referendum as a confidence vote," this act will unduly influence the decisionmaking of the public and employ the referendum as a means to indirectly ask confidence in the President, therefore will exceed the constitutional authority vested in the President. The Constitution does not vest in the President the authority to ask the confidence in him or her by the public through a national referendum, directly or indirectly.
(D) Furthermore, the Constitution does not permit a national confidence referendum in any other form than the national referendum that is expressly provided in the Constitution. This is also true even when a confidence referendum is demanded by the people as the sovereign or implemented under the name of the people. The people directly exercise the state power by way of the election and the national referendum, and the national referendum requires an express basis therefor within the Constitution as a means by which the people exercise the state power. Therefore, national referendum cannot be grounded on such general constitutional principles as people's sovereignty or democracy, and, instead, can only be permitted when there is a ground expressly provided in the Constitution.
(E) In conclusion, the President's suggestion to hold a national ref- erendum on whether he should remain in office is an unconstitutional exercise of the President's authority to institute a national referendum delegated by Article 72 of the Constitution, and thus it is in violation of the constitutional obligation not to abuse the mechanism of the national referendum as a political tool to fortify his own political po- sition. Although the President merely suggested an unconstitutional national referendum for confidence vote and did not yet actually institute such referendum, the suggestion toward the public of a confidence vote by way of national referendum, which is not permitted under the Constitution, is itself in violation of Article 72 of the Constitution and not in conformity with the President's obligation to realize and protect the Constitution.
(4) Act of disregarding the opinion of the National Assembly
Pursuant to the acknowledged facts, the President disregarded the conclusion of the National Assembly appointment hearing held on April 25, 2003 that Ko Young-gu was inappropriate for the position as the Director of National Intelligence Service, and did not accept immediately the resolution of removal by the National Assembly of September 3, 2003 to dismiss the Minister of Government Administra- tion and Home Affairs.
(A) The President possesses the authority to appoint and remove the members of the executive branch of the government under his or her direction and supervision (Article 78 of the Constitution). Therefore, the appointment of the head of the Director of National Intelligence Service is part of the President's exclusive authority and the President does not bear any obligation to accept the opinion concluded at the appointment hearing at the National Assembly. Thus, the President did not violate the Constitution by impeding upon the authority of the National Assembly or infringing upon the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers, in disregarding the decision of the National Assembly's appointment hearing.
(B) Notwithstanding the authority of the National Assembly to recommend removal of the Prime Minister or other ministers of the administration (Article 63 of the Constitution), such recommendation is a mere suggestion to remove such public official from office with no legally binding effect, and not the authority to determine the removal binding the President thereto. The meaning of the 'authority to recommend removal from office' is that the President may be subject to an indirect check and control by holding politically responsible the Prime Minister or other ministers of the administration serving the President's administration, instead of the President who may not be held politically responsible during the presidential term. An interpretation understanding the authority to recommend removal of certain public officials of Article 63 of the Constitution as the authority to determine removal of such public officials does not conform to the consti- tutional provision itself, nor can such interpretation be harmonized with the current constitutional separation of powers order that does not authorize the President to dissolve the National Assembly.
(C) In conclusion, the question of whether the President accepts the conclusion reached at the National Assembly appointment hearing or the National Assembly's recommendation to remove a certain public official is a question of political reverence towards the decision of the National Assembly as the institution representing the public will, and not one of a legal nature. Therefore, the acts of the President herein were the President's legitimate exercise of his authority within the separation of powers structure under the Constitution, or were in conformity with constitutional norms, thus did not constitute acts in violation of the Constitution or statutes.
(5) Remark disparaging the National Assembly, etc.
(A) Pursuant to the acknowledged facts, the President in his open letter to the public via the Internet dated May 8, 2003 stated that "The farmer, when the time comes for weeding, roots out the weed from the field. ... certain politicians who fall to personal greed and interest and wrongful group selfishness ... certain politicians who disregard the will of the majority of the public for reform and instead hamper such reform effort and harm the future of the nation...." (note that the President, unlike the allegation of the impeaching petitioner, did not describe the then incumbent members of the National Assembly as the 'weed to be rooted out') and described the movement at the National Assembly of March 8, 2004 to impeach the President as 'unjust abuse of power.'
The above statements fall within the definition of the expression of opinion toward politics permitted to the President as the constitutional institution of a political nature and, as such, were not in vio- lation of the Constitution or statutes, apart from the possibility of such statements serving as the ground for political criticism notwithstanding.
(B) Although the impeaching petitioner alleges that the President, in his 'address commemorating the 85th anniversary of the March 1st Independence Movement' of March 1, 2004, stated, concerning the move of the U.S. military base out of Yong-San, that "The symbol of interference, invasion, and dependence will return to the bosom of the citizens of the Republic of Korea as a true independent state," such allegation was not included in the original National Assembly impeach- ment resolution and is thus deemed to have been added subsequent to the National Assembly's resolution to impeach the President. Therefore, such allegation cannot properly be a subject matter in this im- peachment adjudication.
D. Political power-based corruption involving the President's intimate associates and aides
(1) Temporal scope of the proximity to the implementation of official duties
Since Article 65(1) of the Constitution limits the ground for im- peachment as arising out of the implementation of 'official duties' in providing 'the President, ... , in the performance of the official duties,' the interpretation of the above provision urges that only certain acts violating the law committed while the President was in the office of the President may constitute the ground for impeachment. Therefore, even those acts committed by the President between the time of election and the time of inauguration do not constitute the ground for impeach- ment. Although the legal status during this period as the 'president-elect' pursuant to the Act on Presidential Succession provides the president-elect with certain authority to perform preparatory acts necessary for the succession of the office of the president, such status and authority of the president-elect is fundamentally different from the official duties of the President and an act violating the law com- mitted during this period by the president-elect such as receiving illegal political funds is subject to criminal prosecution. Therefore, there is no basis to adopt a different interpretation concerning the act of violation committed during this period in terms of the ground for impeachment under the Constitution.
(2) Reception of illegal political funds concerning the Sun & Moon Group and the presidential election camp
The alleged grounds for impeachment in this regard arose out of the facts that occurred prior to the respondent's inauguration as the President on February 25, 2003, and are thus clearly irrelevant to the respondent's performance of official duties as the President. Therefore, such alleged grounds are invalid without further reviewing the facts as to whether the respondent was involved in the reception of such illegal funds.
(3) Corruption of the respondent's intimate associates and aides
Among the alleged grounds for impeachment in this regard, those based on the facts that occurred after the president's inauguration as President are that Choi Do-sul received 47 million Korean Won from Samsung and others during his office as the General Affairs Secretary for the President, that Ahn Hee-jung received 1 billion Korean Won of illegal fund from March through August of 2003, and the allega- tions of Yeo Taek-su and Yang Gil-seung.
However, none of the evidence submitted throughout the proceed- ings in this case supports the allegation that the respondent directed or abetted the above Choi Do-sul and others in receiving the illegal funds or was otherwise illegally involved therein. Therefore, the alleged grounds for impeachment premised on the above are meritless.
The rest of the alleged grounds for impeachment are based on facts that occurred prior to the respondent's inauguration as President and are thus clearly irrelevant to the respondent's performance of offi- cial duties as President. Therefore, such alleged grounds are invalid without further reviewing the facts as to whether the respondent was involved in the alleged reception of illegal funds.
(4) Publicly declaring retirement from politics
Pursuant to the acknowledged fact, the respondent publicly declared, at the party representative meeting at Cheong Wa Dae on December 14, 2003, that the respondent would retire from politics should the amount of illegal political funds received by his election camp exceed one-tenth of that received by the Grand National Party at the time of the presidential election.
However, such statement was made risking his political trustwor- thiness facing a political situation and, as such, can hardly be deemed as a statement creating any legal obligation or responsibility. The ques- tion of whether to keep such promise is merely a matter for political and moral judgment and responsibility on the part of the President as a politician and cannot constitute an act of violating the Constitu- tion or statutes in the President's performance of his official duties.
(5) Remark relating to the investigation by the prosecutors' office
The alleged ground for impeachment contending that the respondent interfered with and obstructed the investigation by the prosecutors' office by, for example, making a statement at the year-end luncheon at Cheong Wa Dae on December 30, 2003 that "I would have been able to twice grind up the prosecution had I meant to kill the prosecution, but I did not." However, this allegation was not included in the National Assembly's original impeachment resolution and is thus deemed to have been added subsequently, therefore it cannot be a subject matter in this impeachment adjudication.
E. Political chaos and economic collapse caused by unfaithful performance of official duties and reckless administration of state affairs
(1) The ground for impeachment in this regard is that the respon- dent, since his inauguration as President to date, has created extreme hardship and pain on the entire citizenry by breaking down the national economy and the state administration, allegedly caused by the President's unfaithful performance of official duties and reckless administration of state affairs lacking any sincerity or consistency, such as the President's repeatedly improper statements, expression of an anti-war position following the declaration to dispatch military to Iraq, proposition of an unconstitutional confidence referendum, and declaration to retire from politics, and unjust acts such as an illegal electoral campaign pouring all his efforts into the general election prior to the permitted time period therefor. It is alleged that the respondent thereby impeded the right to pursue happiness of the public under Article 10 of the Constitution and violated his 'obligation to faithfully perform official duties as president' as expressly provided under Article 69 of the Constitution.
As various statistical indicators relating to the 'economic break- down' are presented in this case, although it is true that household debt increased, the unemployment rate among younger generations grew, and the state debt increased in the past year, it would be irrational to hold the respondent entirely responsible for such economic aggra- vation. Also, there is no evidence in this case that would otherwise support a judgment that the economy of the nation fell to an irrecov- erable state or that the administration of state affairs was broken down.
(2) Article 69 of the Constitution stipulates the 'obligation to faithfully perform the official duties' as President while it provides for the oath of office for the President. As stated previously, Article 69 is not a provision that merely obligates the President to take the oath of office, but is a provision that reemphasizes and specifies the obligation mandated by the Constitution in Articles 66(2) and 66(3) for the office of presidency by expressively setting forth the content of such oath of office.
Although the 'obligation to faithfully perform the official duties' of the President is a constitutional obligation, this obligation, by its own nature, is, unlike the 'obligation to protect the Constitution,' not the one the performance of which can be normatively enforced. As such, as a matter of principle, this obligation cannot be a subject matter for a judicial adjudication. Whether the President has faith- fully performed his official duties may become the object of the judgment by the public at the next regularly held election. However, under the current Constitution that limits the presidential term to a single term, there is no means to hold the President directly responsible, even politically, let alone legally, toward the public and the President's faithfulness or unfaithfulness in performing his or her official duties may only be politically reflected favorably or unfavorably on the ruling party of which the President is a member.
As Article 65(1) of the Constitution limits the ground for impeach- ment to the 'violation of the Constitution or statutes' and the impeach- ment adjudication process at the Constitutional Court is solely to determine the existence or the nonexistence of aground for impeach- ment from a legal standpoint, the ground for impeachment alleged by the petitioner in this case concerning the respondent's faithfulness of the performance of the official duties such as the political incapability or the mistake in policy decisions, cannot in and by itself constitute a ground for impeachment and therefore it is not a subject matter for an impeachment adjudication.
F. Sub-conclusion
(1) The President's statements at the press conference with six news media organizations in the Seoul-Incheon region on February 18, 2004 and the statements at the press conference with the Korean Network Reporters' Club on February 24, 2004 were in violation of the neutrality obligation owed by public officials provided in Article 9 of the Public Officials Election Act.
(2) The act of the President in response to the National Election Commission's March 4, 2004 decision that found a breach of election law by the President was in violation of the President's obligation to protect the Constitution as not in conformity with the principle of the rule of law. The act of the President on October 13, 2003 that proposed a confidence referendum violated the obligation to protect the Constitution as not in conformity with Article 72 of the Constitution.

6. Whether to remove the respondent from office[edit]

A. Interpretation of Article 53(1) of the Constitutional Court Act

Article 65(4) of the Constitution provides that the "effect of the decision of impeachment is limited to the removal of the public official from office," and Article 53(1) of the Constitutional Court Act provides that the "Constitutional Court shall issue a decision removing the public official from office when there is a valid ground for the petition for impeachment adjudication." Here, the issue is how to interpret the phrase of "when there is a valid ground for the petition for impeach- ment adjudication."

One possible literal interpretation is that Article 53(1) of the Constitutional Court Act provides that the Constitutional Court shall automatically issue a decision removing the public official from office as long as there is any valid ground for impeachment set forth in Article 65(1) of the Constitution. However, under such interpretation, the Constitutional Court is bound to order removal from public office upon finding any act of the respondent in violation of law without regard to the gravity of illegality. Should the respondent be removed from his office for any and all miscellaneous violations of law com- mitted in the course of performing his official duties, this would be against the principle of proportionality that requests constitutional punishment that corresponds to the responsibility given to the respon- dent. Therefore, the existence of the 'valid ground for the petition for impeachment adjudication' in Article 53(1) of the Constitutional Court Act means the existence of a 'grave' violation of law sufficient to justify removal of a public official from his or her office and not merely any violation of law.

B. Standard to be adopted in judging the 'gravity of violations'
(1) The question of whether there was a 'grave violation of law' or whether the 'removal is justifiable' cannot be conceived by itself. Thus, whether or not to remove a public official from office should be determined by balancing the 'gravity of the violation of law' by the public official against the 'impact of the decision to remove.' As the essential nature of the impeachment adjudication process lies in the protection and the preservation of the Constitution, the 'gravity of the violation of law' means the 'gravity in terms of the protection of the constitutional order.' Therefore, the existence of a valid ground for the petition for impeachment adjudication, that is, the removal from office, should be determined by balancing the 'degree of the negative impact on or the harm to the constitutional order caused by the violation of law' and the 'effect to be caused by the removal of the respondent from office.'
(2) The President is in an extremely significant status as the head of the state and the chief of the executive branch (Article 66 of the Constitution). Also, the President is an institution representing the public will directly vested with the democratic legitimacy in that the President is elected through a national election (Article 67 of the Constitution). In these regards, there is a fundamental difference in political function and weight between the President and other public officials subject to impeachment. This difference is exhibited as a fundamental discrepancy in the 'impact of the removal.'
A decision to remove the President from office would deprive the 'democratic legitimacy' delegated to the President by the national constituents through an election during the term of the office and may cause political chaos arising from the disruption of the opinions among the people, that is, the disruption and the antagonism between those who support the President and those who do not, let alone a national loss and an interruption in state affairs from the discontinuity of the performance of presidential duties. Therefore, in the case of the President, the 'directly delegated democratic legitimacy' vested through a national election and the 'public interest in continuity of performance of presidential duties' should be considered as important elements in determining whether to remove the President from office. Therefore in light of the gravity of the effect to be caused by the removal of the President from office, the ground to justify a decision of removal should also possess corresponding gravity.
As a result, a grave violation of law is required for a decision to remove the President from office that can overwhelmingly outweigh the extremely significant impact of such decision of removal, whereas even a relatively minor violation of law may justify the removal from office of public officials other than the President as the impact of removal is generally light.
(3) Although it is very difficult to provide in general terms which should constitute a 'grave violation of law sufficient to justify the removal of the President from office,' that the impeachment adju- dication process is a system designed to protect the Constitution from the abuse of public officials' power on one hand and that the decision of removal of the President from office would deprive the public's trust vested in the President on the other hand, can be pre- sented as important standards. That is, on one hand, from the standpoint that the impeachment adjudication process is a procedure ultimately dedicated to the protection of the Constitution, a decision to remove the President from office may be justified only when the President's act of violating law has a significant meaning in terms of the protection of the Constitution to the extent that it is requested to protect the constitution and restore the impaired constitutional order by a decision of removal. On the other hand, from the standpoint that the President is an institution representing the public's will directly vested with democratic legitimacy through election, a valid ground for impeaching the President can be found only when the President has lost the public's trust by the act of violation of law to the extent that such public trust vested in the President should be forfeited while the presidential term still remains.
Specifically, the essential content of the constitutional order ulti- mately protected by the impeachment adjudication process, that is, the 'basic order of free democracy' is constituted of the basic elements of the principle of government by the rule of law which are 'respect for basic human rights, the separation of powers, and the independence of the judiciary,' and of the basic elements of the principle of democ- racy which include 'the parliamentary system, the multi-party system, and the electoral system' (2 KCCR 49, 64, 89Hun-Ka113, April 2, 1990). Accordingly, a 'violation of law significant from the stand- point of protection of the Constitution' requiring the removal of the President from office means an act threatening the basic order of free democracy that is an affirmative act against the fundamental principles constituting the principles of the rule of law and a democratic state. An 'act of betrayal of the public's trust' is inclusive of other patterns of act than a 'violation of law significant from the standpoint of pro- tection of the Constitution,' and, as such, typical examples thereof include bribery, corruption and an act manifestly prejudicing state interest, besides an act threatening the basic order of free democracy.
Therefore, for example, in case of the President's act of corrup- tion by abuse of power and status given by the Constitution such as bribery and embezzlement of public funds, the President's act manifestly prejudicing state interest despite the President's obligation to implement public interest, the President's act of impeding upon the authority vest- ed in other constitutional institutions such as the National Assembly by abuse of power, the President's act of infringing upon the fundamental rights of the public such as oppression of the citizenry by way of state organizations, or the President's act of an illegal electoral campaign or fabricating the election by using the state organizations in elections, it may be concluded that the President can no longer be entrusted to implement state affairs since the President has lost the trust of the public that the President will protect the basic order of free democracy and faithfully implement state administration.
In conclusion, a decision to remove the President from his or her office shall be justified in such limited circumstances as where the maintenance of the presidential office can no longer be permitted from the standpoint of the protection of the Constitution, or where the President has lost the qualifications to administrate state affairs by betraying the trust of the people.
C. Whether to remove the President from office in this case
(1) Summary of the violation of law by the President
As confirmed above, the acts of violation of law by the President at issue in this case can be categorized into the violation of the 'obli- gation to maintain neutrality' concerning elections owed by public officials by making statements in support of a particular political party at press conferences, and the violation of the obligation to protect the Constitution owed by the President against the principle of rule of law and Article 72 of the Constitution by expressing unsatisfaction towards the National Election Commission's decision that the President violated the election law and making statements denigrating the current election law and by proposing a confidence referendum.
(2) Gravity of the violation of law
(A) The President violated the 'obligation to maintain neutrality concerning elections' by making statements supporting a particular political party, thereby infringing the constitutional request that the state institution should not affect the process through which the public freely forms the opinion or distort the competitive relations among the political parties.
However, such acts by the President do not constitute affirmative acts of violation against the 'parliamentary system' or 'electoral system' constituting basic order of free democracy and, accordingly, it cannot be deemed that the negative impact of the acts in violation of the Public Officials Election Act upon the constitutional order was grave, considering that the above acts of violation of the President were not committed in any affirmative, active or premeditated way by, for example, attempting to have administrative authority intervene through state organization. Instead, they took place in a way that was unaggressive, passive, and incidental, during the course of expressing the president's political belief or policy design in the form of a response to the question posed by the reporters at the press conference. It should also be considered that the boundary between the 'expression of opinion toward politics' constitutionally permissible for the President who is allowed to do political and party activities and the impermissible 'acts of violating neutrality obligation concerning elections' is blurred and there has not been any established clear legal interpretation as to 'in which circumstances it is beyond the scope of political activities permitted for the President with respect to elections.'
(B) The President's statement and act that causes suspicion to the President's willingness to abide by law, even if minor, may greatly affect the legal conscientiousness and the observance of the law of the public. Thus, the President's statement disrespectful of the current election law cannot be deemed as a minor violation of law on the part of the President who bears an obligation to make all the efforts to respect and implement the law.
However, the statement of the President denigrating the current election law as the 'vestige of the era of government-power-interfered election' does not constitute an affirmative violation of the current law. Instead, such statement is an act of violation of law committed during the course of reacting, in an unaggressive and passive way, towards the decision of the National Election Commission. The President, of course, may well deserve criticism as such statement was an expression of disrespectfulness toward the current law, therefore it was in violation of the President's obligation to protect the Constitution. However, considering the totality of the specific circumstance where such statement was made, such statement was made with no affirmative intent to stand against the basic order of free democracy, nor was it an act of grave violation of law fundamentally questioning the prin- ciple of the rule of law.
(C) The acts of the President intending to seek sanctuary in direct democracy through directly appealing to the public by proposing a confidence referendum in the state of minority ruling party and majority opposing party rather than administering state affairs in conformity with the spirit of the presidential system and parliamentary system of the Constitution, were not only in violation of Article 72 of the Constitution, but also against the principle of the rule of law.
Also, however, in this regard, the above acts of the President did not constitute an affirmative violation of law against the fundamental rules of the Constitution forming the principle of democracy and accordingly, there was no grave negative impact upon the constitutional order, considering that the President merely proposed an unconstitutional confidence referendum and did not attempt to enforce such and that the interpretation as to whether the 'important policy concerning national security' of Article 72 of the Constitution includes the issue of confidence in the President has been subject to academic debates.
(3) Sub-conclusion
(A) To conclude, reviewing the totality of the impact the violation of law by the President has upon the constitutional order, specific acts of violation of law by the President cannot be deemed as a threat to the basic order of free democracy since there was no affir- mative intent to stand against the constitutional order therein. Therefore, since the act of violation of law by the President does not have a significant meaning in terms of the protection of the Constitution to the extent that it is requested to protect the Constitution and restore the impaired constitutional order by removing the President from office and, also, since such violation of law by the President cannot be deemed to evidence the betrayal of public trust on the part of the President to the extent that the public trust vested in the President should be deprived of prior to the completion of the remaining presidential term, there is no valid ground justifying removal of the President from office.
(B) The power and political authority of the President is vested by the Constitution and a president who disrespects the Constitution denies and destroys his or her own power and authority. Especially, the importance of a resolute position of the President to protect the Constitution cannot be emphasized enough in today's situation where the constitutional awareness among the public has just begun to sprout in a brief history of democracy and the respect for the Constitution has yet to be firmly established in the consciousness of the general public. As the 'symbolic existence of the rule of law and the observance of law,' the President should make the best effort in order to realize the rule of law and ultimately protect the basic order of free democracy by, not only respecting and abiding by the Constitution and statutes, but also taking a decisive stand toward unconstitutional or unlawful acts on the part of other state institutions or the general public.

7. Conclusion[edit]

A. The petition for impeachment adjudication is hereby rejected as the number of the Justices required to remove the President from office under Article 23(2) of the Constitutional Court Act has not been met. It is so ordered, pursuant to Articles 34(1) and 36(3) of the Constitutional Court Act.

B. Article 34(1) of the Constitutional Court Act provides that the deliberation at the Constitutional Court shall not be disclosed to the public, whereas the oral argument and the pronouncement of the decision shall be disclosed. Here, non-disclosure of the deliberation by the Constitutional Court Justices means that neither the separate opinions of the individual Justices nor the numbers thereof shall be disclosed, as well as the course of the deliberation. Therefore, the opinions of the individual Justices may be noted in the decision only when a special provision permits an exception to such secret deliberation procedure. While there is such special provision permitting an exception to the secrecy of deliberation in Article 36(3) of the Constitutional Court Act applicable to the proceedings of constitutional review of a law, competency dispute among state institutions, and constitutional petition, there is no provision permitting exception to the secrecy of deliberation with respect to the impeachment adjudication. Therefore, in this impeachment adjudication, the separate opinions of the individual Justices or the numbers thereof may not be pronounced in the decision.

It should be noted that, concerning the above position, there was also a position that separate opinions may be pronounced and disclosed in the decision, interpreting Article 34(1) of the Constitutional Court Act as a provision merely providing for non-disclosure of the deliberative proceedings in that only the external proceeding or the content of the opinions exchanged therein to reach the conclusion should not be disclosed and the final opinion of the individual partici- pating Justices reached through such deliberative process may be disclosed, and interpreting Article 36(3) of the Constitutional Court Act as a provision permitting disclosure of separate opinions since such provision is based on the consideration to prevent the problem of indiscriminately mandating disclosure of separate opinions where it is improper to disclose separate opinions in impeachment adjudication or political party resolution proceeding, thus leaving the decision to disclose separate opinions in impeachment adjudication to the discretion of the participating Justices.

Justices Yun Young-chul (Presiding Justice), Kim Young-il, Kwon Seong, Kim Hyo-jong, Kim Kyung-il, Song In-jun, Choo Sun-hoe (Assigned Justice), Jeon Hyo-sook, and Lee, Sang-kyung


Appendix 1. List of Counsel representing Petitioner: Omitted.


Appendix 2. List of Counsel representing Respondent: Omitted.


Appendix 3. National Assembly's Impeachment Resolution: Omitted.


Aftermath of the Case[edit]

By its decision on May 14, 2004 to reject the petition for impeach- ment adjudication, the Constitutional Court brought an end to the political and legal debates for and against the impeachment of the President that lasted for over two months, and President Roh Moo-hyun thereby returned to his office in sixty-three days from suspension of presidential authority and power.

Through this case, the public newly recognized that even the President is subject to possible removal from office for violating the Constitution and statutes, and yet, the removal process should also proceed pursuant to the Constitution and statutes. In this regard, it is the analysis within the legal profession that the 'impeachment adjudication of the President served as a precious opportunity for the public to learn the importance of the rule of law and democracy.'

The Constitutional Court's decision in this case mainly received positive review throughout the media as the 'decision committed to both the spirit of the Constitution and the will of the public reflecting the Court's completed mission as the final bulwark of the Constitution,' and the 'historic decision that set a new landmark of constitutionalism and the rule of law.' The announcement of the decision in this case was televised nationwide by live broadcasting.

Source[edit]

This work is in the public domain because, according to Article 7 of the Copyright Act of South Korea, this work is not eligible for copyright. This following works are included:
  1. Constitution, laws, treaties, decrees, ordinances and rules;
  2. Notices, public notifications, directions and others similar to them issued by the state or local government;
  3. Judgments, decisions, orders, or rulings of courts, as well as rulings and decisions made by the administrative appeal procedures, or other similar procedures;
  4. Compilations or translations of works as referred to in Subparagraphs 1 to 3 which are produced by the state or local government; and
  5. Current news reports which transmit simple facts, and digital audio transmission


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