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Friday, February 24, 2006

death penalty abolition plans this time in dept of justice

So it seems that the law bill for the abolition of death penalty in the Republic of Korea, signed and presented to the legislation committee by a clear majority of members of parliament a long time ago in the end of 2004 has been buried in the legislative process. The National Assembly was supposed to deal with it already in September last year (my earlier entry), but nothing has come out of it. Such a shame, when there's been a parliament majority, and as so many assemblypersons were for the abolition it apparently is not an issue on which one's assembly seat depends on.

Now Hankyoreh (or actually Yonhap) tells that as a part of a big legal reform drawn in the Ministry of Justice, the abolition of death penalty will be given a thorough reconsideration. MOJ will undertake all kinds of research and surveys of the effects and costs of the abolition and of the popular opinion on the matter. After that in the next summer the ministry will make a decision whether to support the pending abolition bill. (So has it been the opposition of MOJ to the bill which has kept it from proceeding?)

This is an issue that I want to be optimistic about. As I said, it's not much of an issue in elections (when the majority of assemblypersons choose to support an abolition bill, the pro-penalty opinion is apparently not strong enough to be worried about), and now that it's soon 10 years since the last executions were carried out (on the final moments of Kim Young-sam's presidency) ROK is close to having de facto abolished the death penalty (in Amnesty International standards). I also like to think that the election of a more conservative president after Kim DJ and Roh won't turn the clock back.

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