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Supreme Court Speaks out against the Repeal of the National Security Law

Supreme Court Speaks out against the Repeal of the National Security Law

Posted September. 02, 2004 22:03,   


“Since there have been no signs suggesting that the North has renounced its communist reunification drive to subvert the liberal democratic system of the South, although there has been momentum in North-South Korean relations such as the North-South summit, the nature of the North as an ‘anti-state organization’ or the coercion of the National Security Law are hardly seen to have vanished. This is the articulate opinion of the Supreme Court.”

Following the Constitutional Court’s ruling in favor of the constitutionality of Article VII of the National Security Law (NSL) on the praise and encouragement of anti-state organizations and the possession of enemy-benefiting publications, the Supreme Court issued a noteworthy ruling, stressing the need for the continuance of the law.

Division 1 of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Lee Yong-woo, upheld the jail sentence of two years and six months of the lower court against Kim and another, the two delegates of Hanchongryeon, a banned student organization, who were convicted under the praise and encouragement article of the NSL, the court said on September 2.

“Apart from the opinion of [this court], there have been allegations that forward-looking postures are needed to be taken to nullify the legal coercion of the NSL or to exclude North Korea from anti-state organizations, while citing that the criminal code against subversion and espionage is enough to defend national security,” the court said, targeting talks of the NSL’s repeal among politicians.

“It must not be forgotten that North Korea started an armed provocation for the sake of the communism-mandated reunification and caused a national disaster 50 years ago and that until today, it has continuously made countless provocations and threats,” said the court. “Possibilities are wide open for the North to subvert our system by all sorts of means.”

“If this is the fact of the matter, caution is needed in taking a measure that would result in a unilateral disbarment [of this country],” the court said. “Once the system of a state collapses, it is impossible to recuperate. No negligence or lackadaisical thinking should be allowed.”

Commenting on criminal charges against the acquisition and possession of enemy-benefiting materials, the court said, “Even a liberal democratic society should not commit an error of asininity that leads to a total loss of freedom and human rights by allowing freedom to subvert it.” It added, “Acts that would threaten the system can be constrained by the Constitution. What is more, there is a limit on magnanimity and tolerance for the sake of the defense of the system in the face of a rising North-sympathizing force and rising threats of the formation of a united front [with the North].”

Regarding the enemy-benefiting activities of Hanchongryeon, the court said, “The line it pursues is in accordance with the reunification policy of North Korea. We have little choice but to judge it as an enemy-benefiting organization, whose goals are to praise, encourage, and propagate the activities of North Korea or at least to remain sympathetic to the North.”