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International Tribunals
  • Introduction
  • Korean Judges' Entry into the international Tribunals
The Supreme Court has expanded judges’ international activities in order to cultivate legal professionals with international mindset and to promote international competitiveness of the judges of Korea. Kwon, O-gon, the presiding judge of Daegu High Court, was elected as the judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 2001. Since September 2008, the Supreme Court has sent a judge to ICTY as a research judge to let the judge be familiar with the international standards in international criminal trials. In addition, the Supreme Court seconded a judge to the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HccH) as a law officer to understand the recent trend in the area of multilateral treaty.
The Supreme Court seconded a judge to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the U.S. and a judge to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Republic of Austria as a Legal Counsellor in February 2006 and February 2008 respectively. The secondment of a Legal Counsellor has resumed in 2013. The Supreme Court assigned a judge to the Embassy of Korea in the Netherlands in February 2013, and a judge to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations in March 2014.
On the other hand, activities of Korean judiciary in international criminal judicial institutions are also vigorous. At the International Criminal Court, the first permanent intergovernmental tribunal to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, Song, Sang-hyun, the former president of the ICC had served as a judge and president for 12 years since he was appointed as the first judge in 2003. Currently, Chung, Chang-ho, a presiding judge of Seoul Central District Court, is serving as the ICC judge since March 2015 after he was elected as the judge of the ICC in December 2014.
In addition, Baik, Kang Jin, a judge of Seoul High Court, was elected as a judge of Pre-trial Chamber at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia(ECCC) in June 2015. The ECCC is an international tribunal established in 2005, in accordance with the agreement between Cambodian government and the UN, in order to prosecute the senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge for critical crimes including genocide occurred under the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Judge Chung, Chang-ho served from 2011 to February 2015 at the ECCC.
Judge KWON O-gon
Former United Nations Judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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In November, 2001, Judge Kwon, while working as a Presiding Judge of Daegu High Court, was elected as a permanent judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia(ICTY), becoming the first Korean judge to serve as a judge of an international tribunal. In particular, he served as the Vice-President of the International Tribunal from 2008 to 2011.
ICTY is the first international criminal tribunal after Nuremberg Trials and Tokyo War Crimes Trials of the past, established to prosecute serious crimes such as genocide and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
Judge Kwon sat on the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, former President of the Republic of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, who was accused of forced migration, rape, genocide, etc. from 2002 to 2006. Since 2009, Judge Kwon currently presides over the trial of former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic who is responsible for commanding genocide of Croats and Muslims during Bosnian Civil War. Karadzic case is one of the biggest and most complex in the history of ICTY with 600 witnesses testifying, 11,500 exhibits submitted and the volume of disclosed material amounting to 300,000 pages.
Judge Kwon, who retired as a judge of ICTY on March 31, 2016, played a pivotal role in realizing international justice and contributing to world peace by helping establish international customary law in terms of substantive and procedural law through various trials of ICTY and bringing those individuals committed crimes against humanity and war crimes to justice, under such circumstances where no precedents exist for international criminal trials.
"One of the goals of ICTY is to end impunity for war crimes. The trial of Karadzic will show the world that justice is served.""
-Judge KWON O-gon
Judge CHUNG Chang-ho
United Nations Judge at the International Criminal Court
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Presiding Judge CHUNG Chang-ho of Busan High Court was appointed as a United Nations Judge to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) from August 2011 to February 2015. Throughout his tenure, Judge Chung contributed to the ECCC’s effort to bring justice in the international society as well as in Cambodia by prosecuting anti-humanitarian crimes committed by the leaders of Khmer Rouge.
Following his respected judgeship at the ECCC, he was elected as a judge of the International Criminal Court in the 13th Assembly of State Parties held at the United Nations New York Headquarters in December 2014, thereby becoming the second Korean judge to serve at the ICC after former President SONG Sang-hyun. The ICC is the first permanent international tribunal to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. As of March 2016, 124 states are parties to the Statute of the Court.
Since the commencement of his nine-year term from March 2015, Judge Chung will continue to make valuable role in the ICC and advance the international stance of the Korean Judiciary
"As a judge representing the Republic of Korea, I intend to make strict examination of evidences and adhere to the fundamental principles." - Judge CHUNG Chang-ho
Judge BAIK Kang-jin
United Nations Judge at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia
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Presiding Judge BAIK Kang-jin of Daejeon High Court was appointed as a United Nations Judge to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in July 2015, succeeding the judgeship from Judge CHUNG Chang-ho. As a special tribunal established in 2005 by a bilateral agreement between the United Nations and Cambodia, the ECCC prosecutes crimes such as genocide committed under the Khmer Rouge regime that took power from April 1975 to January 1979.
Judge Baik serves at the Pre-Trial Chamber that settles disputes during the investigations at the ECCC, which is operated by two-instance system. Judge Baik will certainly take bigger roles in realizing international criminal justice and demonstrate the excellence of Korean judges in the world.
Since the commencement of his nine-year term from March 2015, Judge Chung will continue to make valuable role in the ICC and advance the international stance of the Korean Judiciary
"I will commit myself to building the better future of the humanity through the prosecution of the crime of genocide and making accurate records on them." - Judge BAIK Kang-jin
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