Taiwan launches Transitional Justice Commission

05/31/2018 06:18 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, left) and Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德, right)
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, left) and Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德, right)

Taipei, May 31 (CNA) A Transitional Justice Commission, tasked with uncovering Taiwan's history of political repression during its martial law period, was formally launched Thursday at a ceremony attended by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德).

Tsai said during the opening ceremony that it was time to close the era of authoritarianism and that the establishment of the Commission was testament to Taiwan's consolidated democracy.

Over the past 30 years of democratization, Taiwan has had little awareness of the importance of transitional justice, she said. As a result, Tsai said, the work on promoting transitional justice has been focused mainly on distributing compensation funds or issuing certificates of restored reputation to victims of political repression.

She said governments of the past did not embark on a systematic truth-seeking investigation to establish responsibility and failed to set up a legal mechanism for the rehabilitation of victims.

Because the government did not do enough in those areas, the wounds that were inflicted on Taiwan's history have not healed, which makes it difficult to enter the phase of dialogue and reconciliation, Tsai said.

However, "we are going to get out of that plight, starting today," she said.

Citing the examples of Germany, South Africa and South Korea, Tsai said special organizations to promote transitional justice have been established in many other countries.

She said the first mission of the Transitional Justice Commission in Taiwan would be to issue an accurate report on the period of authoritarianism under the former Kuomintang regime.

Also speaking at the ceremony, the Commission's chairman, Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄), a former legislator and Control Yuan member, said the main task of the Commission is to seek and disclose the facts of the authoritarian era, rather than to settle old scores and incite enmity.

Huang said that over the next two years, the Commission will submit an accurate report on the era of authoritarian rule to ensure accountability and to make sure justice is served so that integration of the various ethnic groups can be achieved.

In accordance with the Act on Promoting Transitional Justice that was passed last December, the Commission consists of nine members, including three from the same political party, and no fewer than three males or females.

The main tasks of the Commission are to make political archives more readily available, remove remnants of Taiwan's authoritarian past, redress judicial injustices, produce a report on the history of the period, and take steps to promote transitional justice.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Evelyn Kao)


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