Go to contents

[Editorial] Truth and Compensation

Posted September. 13, 2006 03:01,   


The Korean National Assembly’s Government Administration and Home Affairs Committee’s law review subcommittee agreed upon an alteration of laws that will strengthen the Review Committee for the Restoration of Honor and Remuneration of Persons of Democratization (Minjuwhawe) and increase the number of people to be compensated and submitted the revised bill to the committee’s plenary session. This is simply a revolutionary attempt to elevate a temporary committee placed under the direction of the prime minister to that of sitting above the heads of the legislative and judicial branches.

It is clearly illegal to request to the Ministry of Justice to strike the criminal records according to the sole discretion of Minjuwhawe without a renewal of procedure by the court. It is a rejection of the investigative agency that is charged to manage the criminal records for the protection of our society. It is also against the constitutional spirit to apply the principle of criminal remuneration that should only be done through a trial that the nation has illegally exercised its right of punishment. With the pretense of legal order, it is a fascist attempt carried out by amateurs of the court.

To expand the period applicable from the “After 7 August 1969 (protests against the law allowing third consecutive re-elections)” to the “24 March 1964 (protests against the Korea-Japan Agreement)” means that the law will also cater to the older generation. Problems also abound in areas such as adding those who were detained, suspended in prosecution, and forced recruits; the paying of medical fees to the injured for 20 years; the payment of subsistence fees to the family of the deceased; and those who were fired and had worked in their jobs for one or more years. An additional 26.8 billion won is required for this act.

According to the new plan, approximately 2,000 more cases from the Park, Chun, and the former Roh administration should be reviewed. The Minjuwhawe will continue to exist and increase its stronghold. The Minjuwhawe is even lauding those who protested with Molotov cocktails and who were confirmed to be members of illegal associations. The head of the committee and a large number of assemblymen have already stated that they were themselves “activists for democratization.” The move is translated to be a plan to bring the “Park Chung-hee dictatorship” issue to the table for the presidential election late next year.

The “Committee for Truth and Reconciliation” and the committees that are investigating the Geochang incident, the Nogeunri incident, and the Jeju April 3rd incident may all attempt to follow Minjuwhawe’s precedent. On this grave matter on whether the move is democratically plausible, is the Ministry of Justice, the fortress of a democratic society and which has the matter directly at stake, adopting a wait-and-see attitude or is it merely insensible? Can the Grand National Party, which agreed upon the revised bill, still call itself a party that protects the constitution and our national identity?