International Criminal Law: Unresolved Issues From the Past in the Korean Peninsula
18 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2018 Last revised: 1 Apr 2020
Date Written: September 19, 2018
Historically, the Republic of Korea [here in after Korea] has been passively involved in international criminal law stricto sensu until recently. While the development of international criminal law stricto sensu is a recent event, the international criminal law as applied to Korea cannot be understood without knowing its history, since Koreans suffered through many catastrophic events and international crimes since the late 19th century. Korean citizens were victims of international crimes such as slavery, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, committed by Japan during the Japanese colonial period from 1910 to 1945 and World War II; and aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed by North Korea during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. Most of these international crimes, however, were not properly resolved or even addressed in international or national courts. As many years have passed, criminals, victims, evidence and witnesses are difficult to find and obtain. Research has not been performed well in this area, and there is very little literature dealing with international criminal law issues relating to Korea.
The difficulty of defining what international crime is leads to the difficulty of research on international criminal law issues surrounding Korea. Fortunately, Korea is currently linked to many international and regional criminal legal systems, which helps to analyze the issues in multi-tier levels — multilateral, bilateral and domestic. In this article, first I will analyze legal issues surrounding various events where Korea was exposed to international crime and how the results of the crime had been handled. Second, the current Korean status and contribution to international criminal law will be investigated. Finally, I will conclude with recommendations on how to approach unresolved international criminal issues surrounding the Korean peninsula.
Keywords: Korea, Korean Law, International Crime, International Criminal Law, Korean War, Korean Peninsula, International Criminal Court, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, Armed Conflicts
JEL Classification: K00, K33, K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation