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Budget Cut for Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Posted November. 21, 2009 08:52,   


The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which will close in April next year, has had its budget for next year significantly cut by the Strategy and Finance Ministry and the National Assembly.

The commission is known to have drawn up its budget proposal by arbitrarily interpreting the law on its operation.

Under a basic law on finding the truth behind past history, the commission’s investigation period ends April 24. A problem is that the law does not specify the date of termination, and just stipulates that if the period expires, the terms of commission members shall end six months after activities end. The commission’s administration can stay on for three months after the termination.

The commission says the date of the termination of its activities is when the terms of its board members end, adding its activities will end Oct. 24 and its administration will stay on through Jan. 24. Under this calculation, it asked for a 2010 budget of 17.8 billion won (15.3 million U.S. dollars), nearly the same as this year’s.

The ministry, however, approved a budget of 14.78 billion won (12.8 million U.S. dollars). The National Assembly cut the budget another 650 million won (560,345 U.S. dollars) equal to two months of salaries for commission staff.

A National Assembly source said the amount was cut based on the calculation that the salaries can be paid through Oct. 24, adding that the commission should have asked for the government’s official interpretation of the law.

A commission official said the commission considers its administrative office’s activities necessary even after the investigation period ends given the time required for making a comprehensive report on its activities and taking in and sending replies to complaints filed.