02 October 2023

The Constitution Does Not Sleep

The South Korean government is embarking on a process to amend the current Assembly Act with the aim of enforcing stricter regulations on assemblies and demonstrations. Among other things, demonstrations at night are to be generally prohibited. I argue that the legislator’s plans disregard the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court and fail to comply with standards of international law.

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07 March 2023

Freeing Political Expression

The South Korean parliament is in the midst of an intensive debate on electoral reform. Yet, a crucial element of necessary electoral law reform is missing in these debate: Last year, the Constitutional Court declared a controversial paragraph from the Electoral Act as unconstitutional and unjustly restricting freedom of expression. Failing to revise the targeted paragraph corresponding to the Constitutional Court’s decision in the upcoming legislature periods - by the latest of July 31, 2023 - would inevitably lead to a legal vacuum. In this blog post, I shed some light on the Constitutional Court’s 2022 decision and explain why the ruling could have a major impact on how election campaigns are conducted in South Korea.

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07 February 2023

From Population Control to Reproductive Justice

On 11 April 2019, South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled that the ban on abortion was unconstitutional. As a result, South Korea’s legislature had to revise its 66-year-old anti-abortion law by 31 December 2020. This historic decision was made possible in response to the advocacy of a number of feminist groups, doctors’ organizations, disability rights groups, youth activists, and religious groups in South Korea. Although the overall goal of reproductive justice movements was to change the law that threatened women’s health and lives through the criminalization of abortion, one of the main steps of the movements toward that goal was to challenge the previous framework of pro-choice versus pro-life.

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03 December 2021

Restoring Public Trust

Slipping in and out of the academic spotlight, the topic of corruption has persistently raised the interest of scholars, international organizations, and societies all over the world since the 1990s. I focus on the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) establishment of a new anti-corruption agency, the Corruption Investigation Office for High-Ranking Officials (CIO), and argue that the CIO provides new anti-corruption ‘services’ on the one hand and strengthens state accountability mechanisms on the other.

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08 April 2021
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South Korea’s Combating COVID-19 Under the Rule of Law

South Korea has reduced the significant number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases without ordering stringent restrictions, nor locking down regions and causing severe economic damage. South Korea was able to slow down the spread of COVID-19 along with the government’s quick reaction to the disease. The government has been implementing nationwide free public testing programs. The KCDC in the government tracked all the confirmed cases’ geographic footprints and publicized the information to the people via online websites and mobile texts. Local cities opened up an innovative ‘drive-through’ testing area, which became a model followed by other countries. The civil society has also generally followed the guidelines provided by government, including using medical face masks and adapting to ‘social-distancing.

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03 February 2021
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Ein kleiner Meilenstein

Am 25. Januar 2021 hat zum ersten Mal ein „Panel of Experts“ auf Initiative der EU über die Verletzung von Standards der nachhaltigen Entwicklung im Rahmen eines Freihandelsabkommens entschieden. Obwohl es keine rechtlichen Hebel zur Durchsetzung der Entscheidung gibt, setzt der Panelbericht EU-Korea materiellrechtlich neue Maßstäbe. Durch die Emanzipation der überprüften Arbeitnehmerschutzstandards vom Handelsbezug legt es zudem den Grundstein für zukünftige Streitbeilegungsverfahren, die sich allein gegen die Verletzung von Nachhaltigkeitsstandards richten.

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29 May 2020

Fighting COVID-19 with Religious Discrimination

The Korean authorities have garnered significant praise for their effective response to COVID-19. However, the country’s experience has not been without controversy. A significant proportion of cases were publicly attributed to a controversial religious congregation, and the authorities’ dealings with its members raise questions about compliance with a number of human rights.

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14 March 2017
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Impeaching Remnants of the Authoritarian Past: A Constitutional Moment in South Korea

Last Friday, effective March 10 at exactly 11:21 a.m., the sitting President Park Geun-hye was removed from her office by a unanimous decision of the South Korean Constitutional Court. With public life coming to a standstill as eyes focused on TV and internet live broadcasting, the acting Chief Justice delivered the court decision. The conclusion of the constitutional impeachment procedure marked the climax of a transformative ongoing constitutional moment in South Korea.

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