The Hierarchy of Prosecutorial System
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- Last updated：2019-05-17
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In Taiwan, the prosecution system is hierarchically divided into twenty one district prosecutors' offices, six high prosecutors' offices, and the Supreme Prosecutors' Office. All of these are under the Ministry of Justice, which is under the executive branch. The minister of justice serves as head of the ministry. In this capacity, he supervises the administration of the law enforcement operations of the Ministry of Justice, which includes the Bureau of Investigation, Department of Corrections, and Department of Prosecutorial Affairs. The Department of Prosecutorial Affairs is responsible for assisting the minister in supervising the enforcement of criminal laws by prosecutors.
However, the prosecutor general, not the minister, is the head of the prosecutorial system. He is responsible to the minister, who is in turn responsible to the Legislative Yuan. The minister can issue guidelines as to prosecution policies, administration, and the general conduct of prosecutors. The minister does not directly issue instructions concerning particular cases to local prosecutors.
According to the Law of Court Organization, the prosecutors' office and the court are two opposing and equal organizations with independent functions. Prosecutors' offices are allotted to various levels of courts. For the Supreme Court, there is the Supreme Prosecutors' Office, which has a number of prosecutors, of whom one is appointed by the president of Taiwan as prosecutor general. The prosecutor general is the head of the whole prosecutorial system, and authorized to direct and supervise all prosecutors of different levels. The other prosecutors in the Supreme Prosecutors' Office have the responsibility to present appellate criminal cases before the Supreme Court and assist the prosecutor general with supervising (but not directing) lower levels of prosecutors.
For the other courts, there is a prosecutors' office for each court. A prosecutors' office has the same jurisdictional territory as the court of the same place, and the prosecutors are responsible for the prosecutorial duties at that court. For every prosecutors' office, there is a chief prosecutor and a number of prosecutors. A chief prosecutor of a high (appellate) prosecutors' office is entrusted to direct and supervise all prosecutors of that office and the district prosecutors in his jurisdictional territory. The other prosecutors in the high prosecutors' office have the responsibility to argue criminal cases before the high court and assist their chief prosecutor with supervising (but not directing) district prosecutors. A chief prosecutor of a district prosecutors' office is charged with allocating the work and directing and supervising her subordinate prosecutors. She herself is subject to direction and supervision by the chief prosecutor of the high prosecutors' office at her judicial territory and by the prosecutor general. A head prosecutor is to help the chief to supervise, but not direct, the business of her section. Through this three-level hierarchy, prosecution policies can be enforced uniformly, and provisions of law can be interpreted identically by prosecutors nationwide.