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[Opinion] An Unfair Investigation

Posted May. 12, 2006 02:59,   


The Committee for Revealing Past Wrongdoing for Truthful Reconciliation has just started its task and targeted 388 cases for its first investigation. Out of them, 382 cases involved civilian massacres that occurred at the time of the Korean War. The focus of investigation lies in what caused such incidents and how they were implemented. While, in 365 of the cases, South Korean soldiers, police and U.S. troops are suspected as assaulters, only 17 cases target North Korean perpetrators. Such imbalanced intensity in favor of North Korea is now lowering the credibility of its investigation.

According to the Framework Act for Revealing Past Wrongdoing, targeted cases for investigation include terror, human rights abuses, violence, assault and murder committed by those who are hostile to South Korea or who negated the legitimacy of the Korean government. After struggles with the ruling party, the opposition parties barely succeeded in including this provision into law. This push was based on a belief that without revealing pro-North activities that caused the human rights abuses in South Korea, we can’t handle this task successfully. Apparently this inclusion may seem fair enough. However, since this narrows the focus to pro-North Korean groups who committed terror, violence, and human rights abuses, we can’t reveal all the true stories from back then. In fact, there was little room for pro-North Koreans to commit such behavior at that time because the South Korean government imposed rigid enforcement of regulations after national independence in 1945.

The Committee for Correcting Wrong Perceptions Created by Groups in Favor of North Korea will be established on May 25. The committee announced that it will work hard to prevent groups with distorted views of South Korean history from falsifying past stories. This announcement highlights its strong will to tackle any attempt to fabricate true atrocities committed by pro-North Korean groups as fiction or manipulation, which have sometimes been reinvented as elements of the democratization movement. It is undoubtedly true that Pro-North Koreans made several attempts to undermine the South Korean government in the past.

The committee looks very ready to attack every outcome of the investigation of the Committee for Revealing Past Wrongdoing. This is a sign of a possible upcoming “war of history” in Korean society. It is the current government that has brought such a conflict. When you are in favor of one side, the other side naturally resists it. The current government shouldn’t have been that arrogant. It is practically impossible for the government to iron out the complicated history of Korea. The situation has gone beyond our control now. What we can do now is just to watch if the Committee for Correcting Wrong Perceptions Created by Groups in Favor of North Korea handles its task successfully.

Hong Chan-sik, Editorial Writer, chansik@donga.com