South Korea’s TRC to fold

24 March 2010 by Don Kirk

South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), founded in 2005 as an independent agency with a broad mandate to cover a century of abuse, faces dissolution by the country’s conservative government. The TRC is likely to last another few months wrapping up investigations and then fade away, a relic of the decade of liberal leadership that began with the inauguration of President Kim Dae-jung in February 1998.

“The massive body of research and reports it leaves behind is significant,” says journalist Choe Sang-hun, who has written extensively on the commission’s findings. “The nation has never done this kind of work on this scale.”

Initiated during the presidency of Kim Dae-jung’s successor, Roh Moo-hyun, the commission took its name from South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Left-of-centre Roh endorsed the concept of a commission in response to demands for a thorough probe into human rights violation practices. With nearly two hundred people on its staff, the commission has been the most ambitious effort ever to document who-did-what-to-whom in the last century of Korea’s turbulent history. Investigators scrutinized records and interviewed both perpetrators and victims of abuse.

Under the terms of the Fundamental Law to Settle Past Affairs for Truth and Conciliation, enacted by the National Assembly of South Korea in May 2005, investigative teams in the past five years returned to every aspect of human rights violations dating from the Japanese colonial era in 1905.

Want to read more?

We have tailor-made memberships for students, individuals, groups of professionals and large companies and organizations. A subscription entitles you to receive the International Justice Tribune every two weeks as well as become a member of the Justice Tribune Foundation, supporting independent reporting on international justice.

Subscribe now

Related articles

article
21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

article
07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

article
07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

article
07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

article
07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.