South Korea

Death penalty for murder. There has been an unofficial moratorium on executions since President Kim Dae-jung took office in February 1998. However, a man was recently sentenced to death, a sentence which had not been carried out as of April 2009

North Korea Confirms Defense Minister Execution

July 12, 2015: South Korea says North Korea has officially confirmed the purging of its defense chief two months after Seoul’s spy service said he had been executed for disloyalty to leader Kim Jong Un.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service told lawmakers in May that People’s Armed Forces Minister Hyon Yong Chol was killed by anti-aircraft gunfire for talking back to Kim, complaining about his policies and sleeping during a meeting.
The North’s state media has since not mentioned Hyon or his disappearance. But over the weekend, the country’s official Korean Central News Agency named army general Pak Yong Sik as the armed forces minister in a dispatch about a meeting with a Lao military delegation.
The defense minister position is believed to be the second or third most influential military position next to the post of director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, now assumed by Hwang Pyong-so.
Promoted to major general in the army in 1999, Pak Yong Sik climbed up the military ladder quickly to become a four-star general in May and a vice director at the General Political Bureau in April.
South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-Hee said Monday (July 12) that this confirms Hyon’s replacement and purging.



South Korea: Bill before parliament to abolish the death penalty

Friday, July 10, 2015

South Korea is already among countries with no death penalty in practice, with last execution in 1997
On July 6, a former death row inmate brought a bill before parliament that would abolish the death penalty and replace it with life in prison. The bill was submitted to the National Assembly by Yu In-tae, a lawmaker with the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) who was sentenced to death during the National Democratic Youth Students’ Alliance incident under the Yushin constitution. Yu had previously submitted the bill to the 17th National Assembly.
“More than 17 years have passed since the last person was executed in South Korea on Dec. 30, 1997, and it is already classified as a country that has abolished the death penalty in practice. Doing away with the death penalty is also a global trend,” Yu said during a press conference on Monday to explain why he had submitted the bill.
Yu argued forcefully for the need to get rid of capital punishment. “As of Dec. 31, 2014, 140 of the 198 countries around the world have abolished the death penalty in law or practice, while only 58 countries have retained it. South Korea is the home of the UN secretary general, and it needs to uphold its duties as a member of the international community.”
The bill submitted by Yu would replace death penalty described in the criminal code, the military criminal code, the Criminal Procedure Act, and the National Security Law with a sentence of life imprisonment that could not be pardoned or commuted. The bill received bipartisan support, co-sponsored by 42 lawmakers from the ruling Saenuri Party (NFP), 124 from the NPAD, and 5 from the Justice Party – 171 altogether – who agree with its intent.
38 years after being sentenced to death during the rule of former president Park Chung-hee (1961-79), Yu was exonerated in a retrial in Feb. 2012. Yu’s personal experience has driven him to keep working to abolish the death penalty, and this is the 2nd time he has brought the bill to the National Assembly, following his previous attempt during the 17th Assembly.
This is the 7th time that the bill to abolish the death penalty has been submitted to the National Assembly. Each of the previous 6 times – beginning with the 15th Assembly – the bill has run into controversy and been summarily discarded.

Source: The Hankyoreh, Lee Seung-joon, July 7, 2015

SOUTH KOREA – Victim`s brother threatens self-immolation if killer given life sentence

october 22, 2012

“I will burn myself to death in front of the court if the killer of a woman on the Jeju Olle Trail is also sentenced to life in prison as (convicted rapist and murderer) Oh Won-chun was.”

The younger brother of the 40-year-old woman murdered on the trail in July this year wrote this on his blog Saturday under the title, “I will burn myself to death in front of the court.”

Oh, who killed a young woman in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, had his punishment recently reduced to life imprisonment. The brother of the Olle victim feared the same punishment for the killer of his sister. The victim was strangled to death by the assailant after resisting his sexual advances, and he cut her wrist after killing her.

The brother said, “I deeply understand how the family of Oh`s victim is suffering. My family underwent psychotherapy and is also under huge stress. I also quit my business.”

“Would you have given a life sentence as well to the murderer of your relative? Did you treat this case as a daily routine work thinking it`s a matter for other people? How horrible can a crime get for you to give the death penalty?”