The Korea Herald


Military court denies arrest warrant for ex-Marine investigator over alleged insubordination

By Yonhap

Published : Sept. 1, 2023 - 20:09

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Col. Park Jung-hun at the Defense Ministry in Seoul. (Yonhap) Col. Park Jung-hun at the Defense Ministry in Seoul. (Yonhap)

A military court on Friday rejected an arrest warrant request for the Marine Corps' former top investigator over allegations he disobeyed orders from his superiors over an internal probe he led into the death of a young Marine in July.

The military prosecution on Wednesday filed for the pretrial warrant to detain Col. Park Jung-hun on charges of insubordination and defamation of his superior after he handed over the probe findings to the civilian police last month despite Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup's orders to hold it off for more legal deliberations.

The military court dismissed the request, citing "little concern for the destruction of evidence."

Park spearheaded the preliminary probe into what contributed to the death of Cpl. Chae Su-geun, who was swept away by a torrent at a stream in Yecheon County, 161 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on July 19 while on a mission to search for victims of downpours.

Park has said his decision to hand over the case to the police was lawful. Park's lawyer claims he had been pressured by the ministry to omit allegations of criminal activity by individuals in the report.

The defense ministry viewed the transfer as an act of insubordination, prompting an investigation by military prosecutors. Park has been relieved of his post and has refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Military investigators are to transfer a case, involving a troop fatality, to the police if there are signs of any criminal activity in the case.

The military has faced accusations that proper safety measures had not been taken for troops deployed in the search operation.

"With the support of many people, I will faithfully undergo investigations and trials to prove my innocence," Park said after the court decision. "I hope the investigation is carried out well to ensure there is no injustice for the late Corporal Chae." (Yonhap)