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U.S. Military Refuses to Hand over Suspect

Posted January. 28, 2002 09:29,   


The court summoned to detain the chief of the mortuary in the U.S. Army`s camp, Albert McFarland, who had been indicted of `dumping toxic chemicals into the Han River case`, but the United States Forces Korea (USFK) declared its intention of rejecting cooperation on the trial.

According to the Ministry of Justice on the 26th, when the court recently issued a summons to detain McFarland because the trial procedure is needed to decide whether McFarland is to be kept in custody or not asking formally to deliver the person through the Ministry of Justice, the USFK sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice saying, "We cannot meet the request for delivering the person."

Accordingly, under the Korea-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which requires holding special hearing procedures in order to arrest U.S. military personnel, the planned trial on McFarland on the 28th seems unlikely.

The official of the Ministry of Justice said, "The USFK repeated the past insistence that the court had already exercised primary jurisdiction over McFarland. This is a situation that will not be resolved without revising SOFA because the problem was caused by different interpretations of SOFA between Korea and the U.S."

The court is laboring to arrange countermeasures because the USFK did not cooperate on the case although the court conducted drastic measures to attempt delivering written arraignments several times and sending a summon to detain.

After having been indicted by a summary court last March and ordered to pay a penalty of 5 million won on suspicion of dumping of formaldehyde into the Han River, McFarland was remitted to formal trial but rejected receiving written arraignment and has dodged the trial for 10 months.

Jung-Eun Lee lightee@donga.com