Is Korea’s death penalty unconstitutional?

Is Korea’s death penalty unconstitutional?

Whether capital punishment in Korea is unconstitutional is again under review by the Constitutional Court of Korea. Gettyimagesbank

Catholic Bishops Conference of Korea argues Constitution guarantees one’s basic right to preservation of life

By Ko Dong-hwan

Earlier this month, the Constitutional Court of South Korea launched another hearing on the longest unresolved issue in the country’s judicial history. Whether the death penalty included in the 1953 Criminal Code is unconstitutional.

In this case, the Constitutional Court considers the constitutionality of the death penalty for the third time. Earlier hearings, held in 1996 and 2010, respectively, issued two judgments in favor of maintaining the judgment.

This case concerns a man who killed his parents in 2018. In a district court trial, the prosecution demanded that the accused be sentenced to death. He appealed to the court that the ruling was unconstitutional, but the court dismissed the proceeding.

It was the Peace and Justice Commission of the Korean Catholic Episcopal Conference (CBCK) that ultimately saved the man’s life. With his approval, CBCK requested a hearing in the Constitutional Court in 2019, alleging the unconstitutionality of the judgment.

CBCK endorsed that claim, citing Articles 10 and 37 of the Constitution. The Constitution must guarantee a fundamental right to the protection of life that should be preserved without compromise. And while the law can limit one’s freedom and rights to maintain civil order, it must never violate basic human rights.

“The death penalty sees criminals only as a means of maintaining social order, not as people who can express remorse and improve themselves,” CBCK said.  “It has not been proven effective in reducing the likelihood of serious crimes, and even if the court is wrong, it is unethical, as it is not possible to bring back a person killed in punishment.

Prosecutor Said that the public interest of justice provided through the use of penalties cannot be ignored, and mentioned “retaliation” as one of the purposes of the penalties. It is responsible for many criminal sanctions and has the majority of the population correct the behavior of convicted criminals and become better people.

The country can decide which life should be protected and which should not be protected. They also said that if the penalty later turned out to be unnecessary, it could later be declared unconstitutional.

An enlisted army soldier in Korea identified by surname Lim, second from left, leaves a military court in Wonju, Gangwon Province, after being sentenced to death in February 2015 for shooting five other soldiers to death and injuring seven others inside his camp a year before. Newsis

Earlier this month, the Constitutional Court of South Korea launched another hearing on the longest unresolved issue in the country’s judicial history. Whether the death penalty included in the 1953 Criminal Code is unconstitutional.

In this case, the Constitutional Court considers the constitutionality of the death penalty for the third time. Earlier hearings, held in 1996 and 2010, respectively, issued two judgments in favor of maintaining the judgment.

This case concerns a man who killed his parents in 2018. In a district court trial, the prosecution demanded that the accused be sentenced to death. He appealed to the court that the ruling was unconstitutional, but the court dismissed the proceeding.

It was the Peace and Justice Commission of the Korean Catholic Episcopal Conference (CBCK) that ultimately saved the man’s life. With his approval, CBCK requested a hearing in the Constitutional Court in 2019, alleging the unconstitutionality of the judgment.

CBCK endorsed that claim, citing Articles 10 and 37 of the Constitution. The Constitution must guarantee a fundamental right to the protection of life that should be preserved without compromise. And while the law can limit one’s freedom and rights to maintain civil order, it must never violate basic human rights.

“The death penalty sees criminals only as a means of maintaining social order, not as people who can express remorse and improve themselves,” CBCK said. .. “It has not been proven effective in reducing the likelihood of serious crimes, and even if the court is wrong, it is clearly unethical, as it is not possible to bring back a person killed in punishment.

Prosecutor Said that the public interest of justice provided through the use of penalties cannot be ignored, and mentioned “retaliation” as one of the purposes of the penalties. It is responsible for many criminal sanctions and has the majority of the population correct the behavior of convicted criminals and become better people. , The country can decide which life should be protected and which should not be protected. They also said that if the penalty later turned out to be unnecessary, it could later be declared unconstitutional.

What are its purposes?

The death penalty and its abolition have been the subject of endless debate around the world for centuries. Initially, one of its goals was revenge or eye for an eye, but the types of crimes subject to punishment and how they were applied have varied significantly throughout history and from society to society. At the end of the 17th century, the debate took a new direction when Italian lawyer Cesare Beccaria condemned the death penalty in a 1767 treatise on crime and punishment.

He confirmed the significance of human life and argued that there was no justification for the killing of life by the state and that the punishment was “neither wise nor the necessary form of punishment.”
A lawyer in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, who wants to remain anonymous, told The Korea Times that “the death penalty has not been applied in South Korea since 1997.” “If it hasn’t been done for more than 20 years, it’s virtually abolished in this country.”

Proponents of abolitionists argued that more and more countries around the world are abolishing penalties. Since 1976, more than 75 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.

In 2014, after the Daegu District Court sentenced a woman who beat her stepdaughter to death to 10 years in prison in Chilgok County, North Gyeongsang Province, protesters gathered in front of the court to demand the court sentence her to death. Newsis

“Of course, there are exceptions, such as some states in the United States that have revived since the penalties were abolished. These are if the previous judicial situation could not withstand the extreme seriousness of a particular crime. That’s what the lawyer says.

“But, according to countries that compared serious crime rates before and after the abolition of the death penalty and found no significant difference, maintaining the death penalty has not proven to be effective in its preventive objectives. You can also replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without release. This can be as painful as the death penalty. Other experts say that the punishment instead reforms the criminals and makes them more.

I believe that we should return to society as good people. This purpose is called a “special preventive purpose” aimed at killing criminals. Some experts argue that the purpose of criminal punishment should not be limited to just one of these three purposes, but at least two at the same time. Others say that all three objectives should be met for the punishment to be fully implemented.

“Most the Korean people know that those who commit serious crimes should be retaliated against and not educated criminals to return to society with the money of national taxpayers. I support it, but it (for retaliation) is on the same page as the Talion principle of the Hammurabi Code (since 1755-1750 BC, you must be punished for the same injuries that the criminal suffered).

There is, “said the lawyer. “But times have changed since then, and with research proving the invalidity of the death penalty and the existence of alternative punishments, I think it’s okay to let it go now.”

Kwon Ogol, Professor of Law, Kyungpuk National University Daegu argued that one of the most important things in executing criminal punishment was to “inject justice” into the public by teaching them the entire process of punishing them. Citing his excerpt published in 2017 that examined the death penalty, he said criminal punishment exists to help criminals understand that their lives can also be hurt.

“Justice can only be achieved if the public confirms that the criminal has been properly punished,” Kwon told The Korea Times. “For the death penalty, its external effect is to warn the general public, and its internal effect is to the potential criminals in their lives as well as in the lives of other innocent people.

It is also important to understand that knowing that the death penalty exists is the most important condition for protecting human life, either intentionally or unknowingly. So, at this point, I think we have to keep the penalty. ”

 

Credit/Source : https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2022/07/251_333187.html

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