A South Korean court found for the first time that the Korean government was responsible for the Korean military’s killings of Vietnamese civilians.
On Tuesday, the Seoul Central District Court ruled partly in favor of the plaintiff in its order against the government to provide around 30 million won in compensation and additional damages for the delay to Nguyen Thi Thanh, a survivor of killings of civilians by South Korean troops.
On February 12, 1968, in the village of Phong Nhi and Phong Nhat, South Korean troops massacred 74 Vietnamese civilians. Ms. Nguyen filed a lawsuit against the Korean government for damages in April 2020 for her loss of family and the injury she suffered.
The Korean government argued that whether the South Korean military was the offender, simply because they wore South Korean military uniform and did not use Vietnamese, was not sufficiently proven and that a statute of limitations expired as more than decades have passed since the atrocity was committed. However, the court did not accept the Korean government’s argument. “According to the evidence submitted by the plaintiff and witness testimony, Korean marine soldiers of the 12th squadron fired guns at the plaintiff’s family,” the court ruled. The court also found that the plaintiff had an objective and reasonable ground for not exercising her right, and therefore the plaintiff’s claim was exempt from the application of the statutes of limitations.