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
02 February 2011 by Donald Kirk

South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in December concluded its historic exploration into the brutality of mass killing by both sides during the Korean War in an atmosphere of frustration and controversy.

article
10 April 2006 by Didace Kanyugu

A UN delegation led by the deputy secretary-general for legal affairs met with the Burundian government from March 27 - 31 to discuss the terms of establishing a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) and a special criminal court in Burundi. From these negotiations could emerge a Burundian controlled commission and a special tribunal run by a majority of international members.

article
20 December 2004 by INGRID SEYMAN

They are 35,000 men and women, imprisoned under the regime of General Pinochet, who were abused, tortured or raped, then silenced and forgotten by the Chilean institutions and courts. In early December, the publication of the report on Torture and Political Imprisonment under the military dictatorship has finally put an end to the denial of these crimes by granting them official recognition as victims of the dictatorship.

article
12 October 2011 by Judie Kaberia

The just-concluded confirmation of charges hearings against six Kenyans at the International Criminal Court are having an increasing impact in Kenya ahead of presidential elections in 2012. The six face charges over crimes committed during the post-election violence in Kenya in 2008.

article
14 September 2011 by Judie Kaberia

As the first three of the ‘Ocampo six’ soldiered on through the tough, painstaking and crucial journey of defending themselves against allegations of crimes against humanity last week, many Kenyans have high hopes that the International Criminal Court (ICC) process has opened a window of delivering justice for the 2008 post-election violence.