Friday, February 22, 2008

Truth and Reconciliation Commission, ROK

Have you heard about 'Truth and Reconciliation Commission' in South Korea?
Originally, it was initiated by former ROK president, Kim Dae-Jung.
On October 17, 2000, the former president Kim Dae-Jung inaugurated the Presidential Truth Commission and president Roh Moo-Hyun broadened its scope of Korean modern history to include more controversial aspects, and renamed it as 'Truth and Reconciliation Commission.'
To put it simply, it is a commission of inquiry over un-addressed historical issues.
They select certain issues and seek to uncover the truth behind it within the designated deadline.
It is composed of several bureaus directly under the supervision of the president.
It is comprised of 15 commissioners - usually professors or experts in relevant fields. -
Among the 15 commission members, 8 members are recommended by the National Assembly, 4 members are appointed by the President, and 3 members are nominated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

According to the outline of the commission, the aim of this commission is as follows:

Under the「Framework Act on Clearing up Past Incidents for Truth and Reconciliation, the Commission’s purpose is to foster national legitimacy and reconcile the past for the sake of national unity, honoring those who participated in anti-Japanese movements and exposing the truth by investigating incidents regarding human rights abuses, violence, and massacres occurring since Japanese rule to the present time, specifically during the nation’s authoritarian regimes.

It is often said that such effort is one of the great feats that Roh's participatory government did in the realm of human rights. Indeed, I value highly its contribution to justice by overthrowing injustices and falsehoods to some extent.

However, I am slightly skeptical about the idea that history can be perfectly evaluated by some renowned scholar's investigation. In my view, it might be dangerous in that it can be politically- manipulated or ideologically-biased, depending on ideological-leanings of people involved in the project. In this case, its reliability is questionable.

New president, Lee Myung-Bak is expected to abolish such kind of agencies or committees in light of promoting government efficiency.

I am not very assured that these questions are relevant,
but, I want to think over such controversial points while reviewing this special commission.

a. Why do Koreans show such a great obsession over historical issues?

b. Have the truth-finding activities done during the previous administrations made a constructive contribution to Korean history? If so, in what respect, and how?

c. Should this commission be maintained for future reconciliatory efforts? Should the structure and/or composition of the commission be altered?

If you want to learn more about this commission, please check this out for your info.
Here is its address of the commission.

1 comment:

peter said...

please continue your independant thought....I watched chinese communists(not north koreans..facial structure was different)invade korea...very few north koreans were in the norths army...that this was a civil war is a myth.These people used civilians as living garbage..used as shields whenever possible, Schools were anti-aircraft areas.
Americas army has ALWAYS been kind-hearted fools and our enemies know this.It has always amazed me that our own people....sons,daughters,wifes,mothers,everyone can believe the american GI is a heartless can this be? war is a horror show but we are now surprised(50 years later)that some men killed other people during war!!
god help our sad people