Abstract

In May 1980, the Korean military committed a coup d'etat and massacred Kwangju citizens. South Korea's democratic transition exposed a variety of human rights abuses and raised several issues for the new government. The first issue was how to deal with the Kwangju Incident. Key figures, including two former Presidents, were found guilty of treason and massacre. However, lawyers faced a series of difficult legal questions: How could members of a victorious coup be punished? Would a trial seek retroactive punishment? Who should be held accountable for the massacre? In the struggle for truth and justice, Koreans declared and implemented basic principles for resolving the pain brought on by the Kwangju massacre: truth, justice, compensation, honor-restoration, and commemoration. Now, such principles set a standard for solving other military atrocities that may be committed under an authoritarian regime.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1085-794X
Print ISSN
0275-0392
Pages
pp. 998-1045
Launched on MUSE
2005-08-01
Open Access
No
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