SEOUL : South Korea’s constitutional court, which is deliberating a motion to impeach President Park Geun-hye, on Tuesday warned against a possible delay of trial on the impeachment bill.
The court said future proceedings must not be postponed for the reason of time shortage in preparations, and urged both the defendant and plaintiff sides to bear that in mind, Xinhua news agency reported.
It asked both sides to speed up the legal proceedings, actually targeting Park’s legal team, which on Tuesday offered to the court the details on the impeached leader’s whereabouts on the day of the ferry-sinking disaster.
The details were provided 19 days after the court’s demand.
The suspected absence of Park in the presidential Blue House when the passenger ferry Sewol capsized and over 300 people lost their lives on April 16, 2014 was cited as one of the main reasons for the impeachment passed on December 9.
The court has up to 180 days to deliberate, but it has been speeding up the deliberations by holding trials twice a week to minimise the power vacuum.
A presidential election must be held in 60 days if the court upholds the impeachment bill.
Park’s legal team has been under fire for the suspected delay of legal proceedings. Her lawyers have demanded a criminal trial on all counts of five constitutional and eight criminal charges against the President.
Proving all the charges will take much longer time than the ruling, which allows Park to be fired on disciplinary grounds if she violated any of the 13 counts.
Key witnesses also refrained from attending the trial. Park’s longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, who is at the centre of the presidential scandal, and two former presidential secretaries refused or delayed the court’s summoning.
The head of the parliamentary judiciary committee, which serves as prosecutors in the constitutional trial, raised suspicion that Park’s legal team may be intentionally postponing the proceedings by discouraging witnesses from attending the hearing.