Republic of Korea

Abolitionist in practiceLegal status of the death penalty*
61Number of individuals currently under sentence of death
0Executions in 2021
0Executions in 2020
0Executions in 2019

1997Last known execution
Hanging, ShootingMethod(s) of execution
NoParty to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
NoParty to the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty
Not applicableParty to the American Convention on Human Rights
Not applicableParty to the Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty
NoUN Moratorium Resolution (2010): cosponsor
AbstainedUN Moratorium Resolution (2010): vote
NoUN Moratorium Resolution (2010): has signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation
NoUN Moratorium Resolution (2012): cosponsor
AbstainedUN Moratorium Resolution (2012): vote
NoUN Moratorium Resolution (2012): has signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation
NoDoes the country have a mandatory death penalty?
2021-07-29Last update


Source: Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide
*Source of classification: Amnesty International

Related document(s)

Document(s)

Database Center for North Korean Human Rights – Briefings on public execution

By Database Center for North Korean Human Rights, on 8 September 2020


2020

Article

Republic of Korea


More details See the document

NKDB hosts a monthly English language briefing and discussion on North Korean human rights every month with embassy officials, NGO staff, and NKDB staff as guests

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list Republic of Korea
  • Themes list World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Death Penalty, Country/Regional profiles,

Document(s)

Japanese : 死刑を止めた国・韓国 [単行本]

By 朴 秉植 / インパクト出版会 , on 8 September 2020


Book

Republic of Korea


More details See the document

なぜ韓国は15年間死刑執行がないのか。事実上の死刑廃止国・韓国から学ぶ。

  • Document type Book
  • Countries list Republic of Korea
  • Themes list Country/Regional profiles,

Document(s)

Korean : Death Penalty: Another Murder

By Amnesty International, on 8 September 2020


Academic report

Republic of Korea


More details See the document

For 15 years there have been no executions in South Korea. The film focuses mainly on South Korea through the stories of those directly affected by the death penalty and others outside the country who argue the case for abolition from the perspective of victims’ families, Renny Cushing, Murder Victims Families for Human Rights. It includes testimony from those sentenced to death, a prison warden, the former President of South Korea, Kim Dae Jung, a former prisoner of conscience who was himself sentenced to death and who introduced a moratorium during his presidency. No executions have taken place in South Korea since former President Kim Dae Jung announced his decision. In September South Korea celebrated 5,000 days with no executions.

  • Document type Academic report
  • Countries list Republic of Korea
  • Themes list Country/Regional profiles,

Document(s)

South Korea’s changing capital punishment policy: The road from de facto to formal abolition

By Byung-Sun Cho / Punishment and Society, on 8 September 2020


Article

Republic of Korea


More details See the document

The most recent executions in South Korea took place in December 1997, when 23 people were executed at short notice on the same day. Similarly, nineteen executions occurred in 1995 and 15 in 1994, in each instance occurring all on the same day. These group executions seem to reflect cultural factors that monthly statistics alone do not capture. No executions have occurred since 1998, but this de facto suspension has not been reinforced by law. Since 1999, lawmakers have thrice endorsed a bill favoring life imprisonment without parole in place of the death penalty, but each time the proposal has stalled and failed to move forward. The need remains to develop a culturally appropriate pro-abolition argument that could persuade the Korean public that the death penalty is unworkable and wrong. On 21 January 2007, in the Inhyeokdang case, the Korean Court acquitted 8 persons who had been executed 32 years earlier. The hope is that, in light of strong arguments based on the risk to innocent persons and the irreversibility of capital punishment, Korea will effectively transition from de facto to formal abolition.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list Republic of Korea
  • Themes list Trend Towards Abolition,
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