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Dispute Over Re-inauguration of PTCSD

Posted July. 07, 2004 22:05,   


Political parties are taking different positions regarding the inauguration of the third Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths (PTCSD). The Uri Party and the Democratic Labor Party support its inauguration, while the Grand National Party is opposed to it. Therefore, a dispute is expected over the enactment and revision of a special law to inaugurate the third PTCSD.

Won Hye-young of the Uri Party plans to submit a proposal to the National Assembly by next week at the earliest to revise the Special Law on Suspicious Deaths of People Involved in the Democratic Movement. Major changes she proposes include the extension of investigation targets from ‘deaths involved in the democratic movement’ to ‘deaths and missing people caused by the exercise of public power.’”

Her plan is to submit her proposal as a joint proposal with the other two parties, the Democratic Labor Party and the Millennium Democratic Party, after confirming it as a general opinion of her party in next week’s party meeting. However, it is not certain if her proposal can be accepted as her party’s general opinion since there are a significant number of opinions against the extension of the PTCSD’s investigation targets, even in the ruling party.

In particular, since the second PTCSD recognized long-term prisoners who refused to convert to pro-democratic ideologies as ‘those who fought for democracy,’ and since this has brought strong resistance from conservative groups, there are views even in the ruling party that see the third PTCSD inauguration as a burden. Cheong Wa Dae has also not taken a firm stance yet on this issue and is passing the ball to parliament, saying that “it should be decided by parliament.”

The GNP, who has maintained negative opinions on the PTCSD’s activities, decided to reconsider the whole issue of the PTCSD’s re-inauguration.

Lee Han-gu, chairman of the party’s policy board, said, “It is clearly wrong to recognize unconverted long-term prisoners as fighters of democracy. It is heard that many party members are not fully familiar with the revision proposal although they signed on it. So we plan to reconsider it carefully.”

Gong Sung-jin, chairman of the GNP’s first Policy Mediation Committee, said, “It is against our nation’s common sense to recognize spies as people who fought for democracy. Therefore, it is unreasonable to extend the term of the PTCSD members who made such an unspeakable decision. We have to take this occasion to review if the PTCSD should continue to exist.”

Young-Chan Yoon Yeon-Wook Jung yyc11@donga.com jyw11@donga.com