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Law Would Reopen Compensation Cases

Posted December. 01, 2005 03:22,   


Before setting up a committee for reviewing the country’s past wrongdoings aimed at truth and reconciliation, the government and ruling Uri Party agreed to draw up a special law yesterday for the government to award damages to those previously deemed ineligible.

If this law is passed, the family of Choi Jong-gil, a professor at Seoul National University who died while being investigated by the Korean Central Intelligence Agency on espionage charges in 1973 could become eligible for compensation. A damages lawsuit filed by Choi’s family had been dismissed by a court because the statute of limitations for the case had expired.

If the special law is enacted, those who were sentenced or victimized by the country’s power abuse will be able to receive compensation from the government regardless of the expiration status of their damage filings.

However, given that eliminating statute of limitations can be considered unconstitutional because it has something to do with retroactive law, and that defining the country’s crimes can be made at someone’s discretion, controversy is expected.

The government and the party also reached an agreement to include measures in which they will expand reasons for applying for retrials for those who were victimized by the country during the period of authoritarian rule and either exclude or extend the prescription for cases whose statute limitations (up to 15 years) have not expired, to the special law.

In-Jik Cho cij1999@donga.com