SOUTH KOREA. STATE RIGHTS BODY SUPPORTS ENDING DEATH PENALTY
April 6, 2005: South Korea's human rights watchdog said it supported a bill before parliament calling for the abolition of the death penalty.
The move by the National Human Rights Commission came ahead of an expected National Assembly vote on the bill presented by 175 ruling and opposition party lawmakers in December.
The bill called for those convicted of crimes currently punishable by death to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.
It was the first time a bill calling for the abolition of capital punishment had been submitted to the national assembly, which now had 293 seats. Two previous attempts had failed.
"The commission agreed to express its opinion towards parliament on the abolition of capital punishment," commission spokesman Yook Seong-Chul said. The non-binding decision was supported by eight of the commission's nine members who took part in the session, he said. (Sources: Agence France Presse, 06/04/2005)