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South Korea pushes for army regulation change after soldier’s dying over sexual abuse

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SEOUL: South Korean lawmakers are pushing for reform to scale back the army’s judicial energy after a feminine soldier who had suffered sexual abuse dedicated suicide, rekindling criticism of the army’s dealing with of intercourse crimes.

An air drive grasp sergeant, recognized by her surname Lee, took her life final month after being molested by a colleague. Her household stated she had reported the case and sought assist, however the air drive solely tried to cowl up the assault and bully and silence her.

Air drive chief Lee Seong-yong resigned final week, taking accountability for Lee’s dying. The air drive and defence ministry have declined to touch upon the small print of the case, citing an investigation, whereas her male colleague faces prosecution in a army court docket.

The army has been accused of being too comfortable on these chargeable for wrongdoing and of typically failing to guard victims, regardless of a string of incidents that has led to tighter guidelines and extra extreme punishment for sexual abuse.

READ: South Korea air force chief resigns over sex assault case

Lee’s case triggered requires an modification of the Navy Courtroom Act, which activists say hampers the independence and equity of prison investigations as a result of commanders oversee army prosecutors and courts.

The regulation additionally permits army chiefs to scale back sentences by as much as a 3rd, and that always leads to lighter penalties for sexual abusers, the activists say.

Members of parliament’s laws and judiciary committee mentioned on Thursday an early passage of a pending invoice for revising the regulation to dilute commanders’ energy, together with eradicating their authority to scale back sentences.

The proposal additionally requires limiting army courts to first trials and transferring appeals to civilian courts.

Related payments have been launched over the previous a number of years however none has handed the committee within the face of army opposition.

Defence Minister Suh Wook, addressing the committee, apologised for Lee’s case and agreed on the necessity for institutional enchancment however stated the army’s distinctive attribute also needs to be thought-about.

Choi Ki-sang, a former choose and an incumbent lawmaker, stated the prevailing regulation had “numerous components to guard offenders, not victims, for the sake of the army system’s uniqueness”.

Defence ministry spokesman Boo Seung-chan stated the ministry had a “willingness” to embrace reform.

“In an effort to improve the army judiciary system’s credibility, the affect of commanders over the process of prison instances, reform needs to be taken to make sure the independence and equity of investigations and trials,” Suh advised the committee.

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