The Constitutional Court of South Korea


South Korea’s Constitutional Court on Friday will decide on the constitutional validity of the 2015 Seoul-Tokyo “comfort women” deal.

On Dec. 28, 2015, former President Park Geun-hye’s administration and the Japanese government reached an agreement to put the issue of wartime atrocities against the women to rest once and for all.

Under the settlement, which was meant to be “final and irreversible,” Tokyo would admit its responsibility in the Korean women’s enslavement at Japanese military brothels and provide 1 billion yen ($9.13 million) to establish a foundation for victims.

The decision was met by protest from Korean survivors of the WWII sexual slavery and their family.

Representing 29 survivors and 12 family members of deceased victims, Lawyers for a Democratic Society, better known by its Korean acronym Minbyun, lodged a complaint at the Constitutional Court against the deal claiming it infringed victims’ rights to demand compensation from the Japanese government.

“The South Korean government excluded the victims in the negotiation process, and failed to adequately explain the contents of the agreement after it was signed,” the progressive lawyers’ group said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted an opinion in June last year to dismiss Minbyun’s complaint, claiming that the 2015 deal was a diplomatic accord as opposed to a legally binding treaty.

In response, the Constitutional Court said its sole consideration will be whether the constitutional rights of citizens had been violated.

The court has deliberated on the case for three years and nine months.
By Kim Arin (