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    Posted December 18, 2013 by
    oglim

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    Two International Rights Organizations Join Fight Against S. Korean Election Fraud and Subsequent Cover-up

     

    The controversy over last December’s South Korean presidential election has continued for an entire year. Now, two international organizations, the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), have published statements expressing their deep concerns about the illegal acts committed by state agencies to interfere with the 2012 presidential election and stalled investigation processes into such acts.

     

    The Asian Network for Free Elections said on December 17, 2013 in a statement that there had been convincing evidence for state agencies to have intervened in last year’s presidential election, but a thorough investigation into this illegal action had not yet been set out. It emphasized that “independent prosecutors must be given the resources and freedom from political pressure to thoroughly investigate and prosecute all of those involved in the intervention”. The ANFREL added that a thorough and transparent investigation and strict prosecution are the necessary steps “to rebuild confidence in the election system and establish the precedent that such acts could never again be repeated”.

     

    The Asian Human Rights Commission also mentioned in its statement from December 18, 2013 the details of the illegal interference by the National Intelligence Service and other state agencies in the presidential election. In addition the AHRC criticized the government’s way of handling this matter. For example, the statement mentioned that the Prosecutor General had been removed from his position in the middle of the ongoing investigations as he had indicted the former director of the NIS with charges of violation of the NIS Act and Election Act, which had been reportedly strongly objected by the Presidential Office. The AHRC warned that South Korea, once a model for democracy and human rights in Asia, would be an example again to other countries, “whether good or bad, of either the promotion or deterioration of rights” depending on how to resolve this issue.

     

     

     

     

     

    The statement by the Asian Network for Free Elections is as follows.

     

    More Investigation Required into State Agencies’ Interference with 2012 South Korean Presidential Election

    The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), a regional NGO that promotes and supports democratization in Asia, wishes to express its concern about the illegal intervention by state agencies in the South Korean Presidential Election in December of 2012. Those facts which have come out about the intervention demand a thorough, non-partisan, and timely investigation which, until today, has not been done. To rebuild confidence in the election system and establish the precedent that such acts can never again be repeated, independent prosecutors must be given the resources and freedom from political pressure to thoroughly investigate and, where necessary, prosecute all of those involved in the interventions.

    We note with concern that such interventions by state agencies in elections are completely contrary to a number of international standards on elections. Recent investigations and media reports have revealed a troubling number of examples of alleged bias from a variety of state agencies that should instead be playing a neutral, non-partisan role during the elections. Among those reported, the supposed illegal interventions in the election by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) are the most worrying. On 6 December 2013, prosecutors stated that millions of messages had been posted or retweeted from 2,653 Twitter accounts belonging to members of the NIS’ psychological operations division during the 2012 presidential election. While the prosecutor’s investigation and prosecution is still on-going, the confirmed facts are troubling enough to require complete transparency and an explanation from the NIS and all state agencies about their actions during the 2012 elections.

    We strongly implore the government to demand greater transparency and accountability from state agencies. Prosecutors and investigators looking into this should be given complete, unfettered access to agency records and must be given the mandate to freely carry out their investigation without any political interference. Reports of political interference in the investigation, if true, further undermine not only the election but also the judicial system itself. That prosecutors should at all times be free from political pressure is a foundational principle of democracy.

    Free and fair elections are a basic, necessary condition for a democratic society and an essential component of a free and fair election is that election campaigns should be free from abuse of government resources and the interference of security forces and state agencies. All state agencies should remain professional and impartial, refraining from intentionally creating an advantageous atmosphere for particular candidates before elections.
    As one of the most developed democracies in Asia, South Korea must set an example of both how to act during elections and how to investigate and provide justice afterwards if and when malfeasance takes place. People should be able to raise their voices and doubts about a fraudulent election without fear and their right to freedom of opinion and expression should be protected and respected at all times.

    Therefore, we recommend the South Korean government to:
    • Conduct an independent and transparent investigation on the illegal intervention of state agencies in the election;
    • Protect whistleblowers who revealed information related to the illegal intervention by the state agencies in the presidential election;
    • Guarantee freedom of opinion and expression of all people including those who argue that the last election was a fraudulent election and there should be no repressive measures taken against them;
    • Establish measures to prevent any recurrence of illegal interventions, especially on the Internet, by state agencies in any election;
    • The National Intelligence Service, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of National Defense should fully cooperate in a transparent investigation.

    The Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission is as follows.

    South Korea: A model once appreciated becomes another example for others in the region

    Democracy and human rights were taboo under the military regime until the movement of democratisation which took place in 1987 triggered the 9th Amendment to the Constitution in the country. This Amendment guaranteed at least 'procedural' democracy. Those terms were released from constraints that had been kept for decades by the military forces. After they became free, many commissions were established to reinvestigate the past wrong doings and cases of miscarriage of justice. As the result, the truth was, for the most part disclosed and based on that justice, such as restoration and compensation was delivered to victims and the perpetrators were punished accordingly. This justice that South Korea accomplished has rarely been seen in the region and other continents. Thus, the country's achievement in this regard was considered a model in Asia that has inflated the aspirations of democracy and human rights that the people are struggling for.

    The month of December is the anniversary to celebrate the historic adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 after the atrocities were internationally witnessed and caused by wars. In the context of South Korea, it is also the month to celebrate the first anniversary of the current President, Park Geun-Hye, who took office as a result of Presidential Election held in 2012. However, the celebration for the adoption of the international human rights instrument has lost all meaning for several years now and been replaced by the deterioration of human rights.

    Statement continued at http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-245-2013

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