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[Editorial] Reconciliation Indeed

Posted January. 31, 2007 07:09,   


The presidential Truth and Reconciliation Commission decided yesterday to release a list of 492 justices who handed down convictions in cases involving violations of “emergency decrees.”

The list includes 10 current judges in the Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, and district courts.

The decision is wrong because it makes it clear that the reason for the committee’s existence is not reconciliation. As it stands now, it is actually dividing the nation.

If there were problems with the trials, legal steps should be taken to address them. In addition, revealing the names of the judges seems suspicious and can even be regarded as politically motivated.

It is a sign that the committee will take action like this again in the future in such a way that they try to put to shame on judges who should pass verdicts in accordance with a positive law at that time roughly 30 year ago.

Dong-A Ilbo, at one time, was published without advertisements (unprecedented in the history of Korean press) while it opposed the government under so-called Yushin (renewal) Constitution. But I believe that revealing the list of judges was not following in the spirit of reconciliation.

An official from the Supreme Court argued that the revelation of the list by the committee would stir up populism. However, it is reminiscent of the announcement made by Chief Justice Lee Yong-hoon on his inauguration day that the Supreme Court of Korea would review rulings on past cases and disclosing the injustices of the past.

The government has 15 committees focusing on redressing past affairs, including the Presidential Truth and Reconciliation Commission, led by Father Song Ki-in, who is on close terms with President Roh.

According to an analysis conducted by a civic group at a request of Dong-A Ilbo, of 178 committee members and 149 staffers in the 15 fact-finding committees, 49.4% and 55% are from left-wing and so-called progressive groups. Right wing members and staff numbered less than ten.

In this regard, a fair evaluation of history by the committees composed of biased members cannot be expected. Moreover, it is possible to see the decision by the presidential Truth and Reconciliation Commission as “A decision to humiliate opponents of the government.” And the revelation will likely not be the last of its kind.