In September 2004, the ruling party in South Korea, along with two opposition parties, called for the abolishment of the 1948 anti-communist National Security Law. The following month, Amnesty International, a long-time critic of the law, officially called for the law's repeal. The law had been enacted in 1948 in response to threats from communist North Korea, but has long been used by the government to silence legitimate opposition in South Korea. This Comment will examine South Korea's National Security Law as viewed by its domestic supporters and critics, as well as by the international community. Part I will consider the historical context of the law's enactment. Part II describes the content of the National Security Law, and Part III examines the rationale for the law and its enforcement during the past fifty five years. Part IV examines previous discussions about the law's repeal; Part V discusses the extent to which the law violates international human rights norms; Part VI compares South Korea to two Asian countries with similar laws, and Part VII considers the prospects for the law's eventual repeal in light of both domestic and international pressure.

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Notes/Citation Information

Wisconsin International Law Journal, Vol. 24, No. 2 (2006), pp. 627-659



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