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Ex-pres. aides acquitted of destroying inter-Korean summit minutes

Ex-pres. aides acquitted of destroying inter-Korean summit minutes

Posted February. 07, 2015 07:23,   


A South Korean court has acquitted two former presidential officials of allegedly destroying a draft of the transcript of a 2007 inter-Korean summit.

The Seoul Central District Court cleared on Friday former secretary for national security affairs Cho Myung-kyun and former National Security Advisor Baek Jong-cheon of the charges, ruling that the draft was not a presidential document and thus not subject to the law on the management of presidential records. The two, who worked at the presidential office under then President Roh Moo-hyun, had been accused of deleting the draft transcript amid controversies over whether Roh offered to give up the Northern Limit Line, the de factor western sea border with the North, at the summit. Friday’s acquittal was the first judicial decision on the two former officials’ charges.

The court presented four conditions for a document to become a presidential record: The document must be in a physical form; it must be related with a president’s execution of his or her duty; it must be produced by a president or his or her assistants or advisors; and its production or filing must be completed.

Based on the conditions, the court ruled that the creation or drafting of a document in an electronic form does not complete the “production” of the document, adding that Roh did not approve the draft and told them to review and modify parts of it, meaning it never became an official presidential document.

Regarding the charges of destroying public electronic records, the court acquitted the accused, accepting their argument that the draft minutes had no chance of being independently used before a final version was out and should be scrapped to prevent possible confusion with a final version.