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Ruling DP, Blue House, Gov't to rename NIS, limit prosecutors' investigation scope to decentralize power Updated: 2020-07-30 17:20:49 KST

One of the most noticeable plans agreed on by officials from the ruling Democratic Party, the Blue House and the government on Thursday was the decision to rename the National Intelligence Service, to what's roughly translated as the "External Security and Intelligence Service".
The move is aimed at preventing the agency from meddling in domestic politics.

"The National Intelligence Service will also be stripped of its mission to investigate espionage cases and come under enhanced outside control by the legislature and the Board of Audit and Inspection.
Intelligence agents who illegally meddle in domestic politics will face heavier criminal punishment."

They also pledged to push through with policies to make the prosecution's vertical, hierarchical relationship with the police into a more horizontal, cooperative relationship.
As for the prosecution service, its rights to open its own primary probes will be restricted to six major fields, namely crimes on corruption, the economy, public servants, elections, defense projects and disasters.
Regarding crimes by public servants, prosecutors will only be able to investigate bribery cases that deal with more than 25 thousand U.S. dollars and fraud cases with damages of at least 419 thousand dollars.
A joint consultative body between prosecutors and the police will be formed to hold regular meetings aimed at fostering cooperation so the two sides don't face conflicts during investigations.

And to balance power among police officers, participants vowed to adopt an autonomous regional-level police system, where selected police officers from the National Police Agency and local police stations will be tasked with carrying out duties involving residents' livelihoods and related local issues, such as public safety, women, youth and traffic in their respective jurisdictions.

"Ruling party lawmakers said that they will step up efforts to submit related legislation before the July extraordinary session ends, hoping to pass the bills by the end of the year."

Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.
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