S Korea president wants to abolish statute of limitations for human rights abuses

[JURIST] South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun [official profile] said Tuesday that he intends to push for the elimination of a statute of limitations for future human rights violations in South Korea, but said that he isn't seeking to introduce retroactive punishment for acts already outside the statute of limitations, which bars prosecution of government officials after a certain period of years. Introducing retroactive punishment is prohibited by the South Korean Constitution [text], and Roh's initial call for an end to the statute of limitations made during a speech marking the end of Japanese rule in Korea sparked fears that retroactive punishment would be sought. Roh did state that several of his legal advisors had demonstrated to his satisfaction that certain, rare cases of human rights abuses, like internationally defined war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and human experimentation, may be open to retroactive punishment under strict exceptions. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of South Korea [JURIST news archive]. Chosun Ilbo has local coverage.

 

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