Cohen urges Taiwan President Ma (LL.M. '76) to establish commission to probe reports of detentions, brutality

Jerome Cohen, Professor of Law and co-director of the Law School’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute, personally urged Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou (LL.M. ’76) to establish an independent, impartial commission to investigate reports of detentions and police brutality during last month’s protests against the visit of Chairman Chen Yunlin of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait.

More than 100 people, including police and protesters, were injured in the demonstrations.

According to Cohen, who is also a senior fellow of the Council of Foreign Relations, President Ma does not think a commission is necessary because that task should fall to the Control Yuan, one of the five branches of the Republic of China government in Taipei.

“Sure, let’s give the Control Yuan a chance,” Cohen told the Taipei Times. “But I want to see it act effectively. At the same time, a commission comprised of NGOs [non-governmental organizations] should also be set up.”

Cohen, who was President Ma’s professor when he was a student at Harvard Law School in the late 1970s and early 1980s, did offer praise for the neutrality of Taiwan’s judicial system.

“Since the early 1990s, Taiwan, by and large, has developed neutrality of prosecutors and judges,” Cohen said to the Taipei Times. “I have met prosecutors, lawyers, law professors, and I have a pretty good feeling about it.”