The New York Times has an interesting article written by Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Choe Sang-Hun concerning the decision of the Constitutional Court of Korea in declaring unanimously three emergency decrees by the Park Chung-Hee Administration unconstitutional. The full article may be found at: Court Says South Korean Dictator, Father of Current President, Violated Constitution.
The Constitutional Court opened the case, which deals with what human rights groups have called one of the darkest periods in South Korea’s modern history, after six people filed a petition. They include a 72-year-old man named Oh Jong-sang, who was tortured and served three years in prison under the decrees. His crime was criticizing Mr. Park during a conversation with a high school girl on a bus in 1974.
Mr. Park seized power in a military coup in 1961 and ruled until his assassination by his disgruntled spy chief in 1979. Public discontent peaked when he declared martial law in 1972, amid spreading student protests, and pushed through the so-called yushin, or revitalization, Constitution, which effectively made him president for life. It replaced direct presidential election with voting by a group of pro-government representatives. It also gave Mr. Park the right to disband Parliament and issue emergency decrees.
Ms. Park owed her December election in large part to her father’s continuing popularity among conservatives. But in September, under pressure from families who had lost relatives to Mr. Park’s abuses, she acknowledged that some events that took place during his rule, including the coup that brought him to power, had “damaged the values of the Constitution.”
Sean Hayes may be contacted at: [email protected]
Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the only non-Korean to have worked as an attorney for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty.
- Selection of Justices at the Constitutional Court Fundamentally Flawed?
- The Korean Law Blog cited by the Washington Post on the Freedom of the Press in Korea
- Korean Cryptocurrency Case Filed to the Korean Constitutional Court: Korean Bitcoin Updates
- Korean Court Upholds Expulsion of Law Student at Judicial Research & Training Institute for Adultery
- CLIENT ALERT: Advice to the Press, Bloggers & Corporations Concerning Free Speech Protection in Korea
- South Korea’s Military Conscription Law Challenged by Religious Conscientious Objectors
- Korean Administrative Court Stands Up for the Right to Assemble: Korea Queer Culture Festival
- “Fine Dust” as Socially-Generated Natural Disaster – Amendment to the Framework Act on the Management of Disasters and Safety 2019
- Korea is a Country of the Future – and Always Will Be by John Lee
- Korea’s New Electronic Passport Without Resident Registration Number in 2020