Frozen Trials: Political Victims and Their Quest for Justice in Taiwan

Jerome A. Cohen, William P. Alford, Chang-fa Lo (eds), Taiwan and International Human Rights: A Story of Transformation, Springer, Forthcoming

15 Pages Posted: 2 May 2019

See all articles by Cheng-Yi Huang

Cheng-Yi Huang

Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Academia Sinica; University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: April 3, 2019

Abstract

Before Martial Law was lifted in 1987, the Legislative Yuan passed the National Security Act prohibiting civilian cases tried in court martial from appealing to ordinary courts. In 1991, the Constitutional Court affirmed this legislation in its notorious J.Y. Interpretation No. 272, indicating that this was a very exceptional case, since the imposition of martial law had been maintained for over thirty-eight years. The stability of the legal system came first, and the Court had to defer to the Legislature’s decision. Thereafter, the government passed a special statute to reimburse the victims or their family members without overruling the original judgments. The government had taken 10,062 cases and issued monetary compensation of over 19.6 billion NTD. However, over the years, the victims and their family members waited for rectified judgments from the courts. The quest for justice, despite the country’s transition to democracy, has been delayed for thirty years. It was only in December 2017, that the Legislative Yuan passed new legislation to uphold the value of transitional justice. This chapter first articulates legal structure of the martial law period and then assesses the contours of the post-authoritarian governments’ endeavor to compensate the victims. Using the cases of the Simulated Constitutional Court, the chapter tries to analyze the critical shortcomings and potential benefits of Taiwan’s model of transitional justice.

Keywords: Act for Promoting Transitional Justice; judicial remedy; National Security Act; Martial Law; political prisoner; Simulated Constitutional Court

Suggested Citation

Huang, Cheng-Yi, Frozen Trials: Political Victims and Their Quest for Justice in Taiwan (April 3, 2019). Jerome A. Cohen, William P. Alford, Chang-fa Lo (eds), Taiwan and International Human Rights: A Story of Transformation, Springer, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3364801

Cheng-Yi Huang (Contact Author)

Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Academia Sinica ( email )

128 Academia Sinica Rd., Sec. 2
Nankang
Taipei City, 11529
Taiwan
886-2-2652-5420 (Phone)
886-2-2785-9471 (Fax)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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