A series of demerits were handed out to military personnel involved in the wrongful execution of Chiang Kuo-ching (江國慶) and all their medals, certificates and accolades have been recalled and rescinded, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday, sparking criticism that the wrongdoers had merely received a “slap on the wrist.”
Chiang was convicted of the 1996 rape and murder of a five-year-old girl and he was executed in 1997, but a posthumous retrial last year of the former air force serviceman exonerated him after it was revealed that his confession was coerced.
Chiang was 21 years old when he was executed.
In May last year, the Taipei District Prosecutor’s Office indicted Hsu Jung-chou (許榮洲), another airman, for the crime.
Chiang’s family has received NT$100 million (US$3.3 million) in compensation and has also initiated legal proceedings asking for reparations from those involved in the case.
Former air force commander-in-chiefs Huang Hsien-jung (黃顯榮), Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) and Lee Tien-yu (李天羽) — who were all involved in the Chiang case — received punishments ranging from one minor demerit to one major demerit, none of which will affect the three retired generals’ pensions.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said the judgement showed that members of the armed forces were covering up for each other, adding that when the media’s attention was on the Chiang case, the ministry not only paid Chiang’s family a great sum of money, it also talked about confiscating property from Chen and others.
Huang said the public would not accept a punishment akin to “a light slap on the wrist” and that it was not right that the public is left to pay for the mistakes of Chen and others. Huang called on the Control Yuan to look into possible wrongdoing on the part of the ministry.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said the punishments were too minor and “completely meaningless.”
It cannot give Chiang’s family any closure nor can it satisfy the public’s desire for justice, Tsai said, adding that the judicial system should step up its investigation.
According to Tsai, those who made mistakes must pay the price, and only then can it be called social justice.
Ministry spokesperson David Lo (羅紹和) said in an interview yesterday that the 23 members of the armed forces involved had received between one minor demerit and two major demerits, in accordance with the extent of their involvement in Chiang’s case.
Lo said the ministry had also rescinded all awards, medals, certificates and accolades that had been awarded to 33 people following the initial ruling that led to Chiang’s execution.
The punishments meted out by the ministry for personnel involved in the Chiang case were based on the principle of not punishing those who did nothing wrong, but also not letting off those who had done wrong, Lo said.
The punishments were appropriate, Lo added.