Transitional justice must continue after May: association

  • By Chien Hui-ju and William Hetherington / Journalist, with editor

The Taiwan Association of University Teachers yesterday urged the government to continue its transitional justice efforts after the term of the Transitional Justice Commission ends in May.

The commission was established in May 2018 under the Transitional Justice Promotion Act (促進轉型正義條例).

The law states that the committee must expire after completing its tasks within two years, adding that it could request a one-year extension, which Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) approved in May. ‘last year.

Photo: Chien Hui-ju, Taipei Times

At a press conference in Taipei, the association said transitional justice efforts “must not stop” as many victims of the White Terror era are awaiting justice.

Many members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) who committed injustices at the time also avoided accountability for their crimes, he added.

During the White Terror era, the National Security Bureau recruited informants from schools, businesses and other organizations, whose reports on others often led to miscarriages of justice, the vice president said of the association, Chen Li-fu (陳俐甫).

There were also others wrongly accused of being informants, and many were forced to do so against their will, he added, adding that many documents have not yet been found, which could provide evidence in the defense of some people.

“These files that remain hidden implicate those responsible. If the records remain invisible, the culprits could escape responsibility,” he said. “The government needs to come up with a plan for someone to take over from the Transitional Justice Commission.”

Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Fan Yun (范雲) said many of today’s disputes relate to the incomplete nature of transitional justice.

One area the commission found progress in was pacifying judicial anarchy, she said, adding that efforts were lagging in removing symbols of authoritarianism and uncovering historical records.

“The top priority is to define who would complete these tasks. Each competent authority should have clear guidance on this,” she said.

Making government records fully transparent and accessible to the public would be an important step in gaining public trust, she said, adding that uncovering historical truths was the only way to achieve reconciliation for victims of past injustices.

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