‘Improvement of barracks culture’ Minister Seo-wook Seo-wook, a civilian member who protested against the Ministry of National Defense and the Minister of National Defense and the President of the 3rd Army, had an emergency meeting on the 18th.
On the 22nd, it was confirmed that the subcommittee on the improvement of the military law system of the Joint Civil-Private Military Commission, which was launched under the direction of President Moon Jae-in to overhaul the barracks culture, passed the plan to abolish the military court in peacetime. However, the Ministry of National Defense reported to the National Assembly Defense Committee the matter of the joint public-private-military committee except for this fact. In protest, two lawyers who were civilian members of the military law system improvement section of the committee resigned. Defense Minister Seo Wook had an emergency meeting with the Chief of Staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force on the same day.
According to the Ministry of National Defense and others, the 4th subcommittee of the private-public-military joint committee voted on the abolition of the peacetime military court, a key reform task of the military judicial system, on the 18th. However, on the 20th, the Ministry of National Defense reported to the National Defense Commission on the ‘Status of the Public-Private-Military Joint Committee Activities’ and omitted the 4th section and resolutions from the ‘Military Judicial System Improvement Subcommittee’.
The Ministry of National Defense said, “We discussed ways to operate the military court in peacetime, to expand victims’ options, such as using a private lawyer, and to unify the person in charge of assisting victims of sexual crimes.” “We are discussing various opinions, such as reviewing concerns about the abolition of the military court in peacetime and gathering the positions of the Ministry of National Defense,” he added.
The abolition of the peacetime military court was a key issue discussed by the 4th Division. This is why it is pointed out that the Ministry of National Defense deliberately omitted reports that are unfavorable to the military. The military authorities have actively opposed the abolition of the military court in peacetime.
Four minutes and two civilian members resigned on the 21st to protest this omission. An official from the Ministry of National Defense said, “It is true that the two private members expressed their intention to resign.” “The plan to abolish the peacetime military court has not yet been brought to the plenary session, and there are other subcommittee members expressing concerns, so it was omitted from the report of the National Defense Commission.” However, criticism of the fact that the abolition bill of the peacetime military court was passed and inserting the ‘review of concerns in the abolition of the peacetime military court’ is a report that distorts the facts is being criticized.
The number of members of the public-private-military joint committee who expressed their resignation increased to a total of six. Four other civilian members also resigned after an emergency meeting was held on the 17th in relation to the death of a naval sergeant who was sexually assaulted, protesting the reckless attitude of the military authorities.
Park Eun-jung, former chairman of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, co-chaired by the joint public-private-military committee, said, “It is very regrettable that the part of the resignation of some members appeared to be discordant.” However, two additional civilian members resigned, raising doubts about whether the committee could do its job.
On the same day, Minister Seo summoned Nam Young-shin, chief of staff of the army, Bu Seok-jong, and air force chief of staff, and discussed countermeasures against the abolition of the peacetime military court, the transfer of some duties of the military prosecution to the civilian prosecutors, and the resignation of civilian members.
The Civil-Private Military Joint Committee was launched on June 28 at the direction of President Moon after the sexual assault and death of a female Air Force noncommissioned officer. It was composed of four divisions with former Chairman Park and Defense Minister Seo Wook as co-chairs. There are a total of 80 members. The Joint Committee will announce a comprehensive plan next month and end its activities.