Pending Bill in Korea Aims to Protect Crime Victims’ Identities

Korea has many protections in place to protect the privacy of individuals, however, a concerning issue has come to light, in recent years, regarding the exposure of Korean victims’ identities and addresses during legal proceedings in Korea. Korean lawmakers, reacting to this issue, proposed a bill aimed at safeguarding the personal information of alleged crime victims. The bill has been stuck in legislative limbo for over two years.

The Busan Hit-and-Run Case
One particular incident, widely known as the “Busan hit-and-run case,” highlights the issue. The alleged victim in this case expressed fear of retaliation from the perpetrator. The perpetrator, currently incarcerated, obtained the victim’s address from the civil damages claim filed by the alleged victim.

The Proposed Legislation: Safeguarding Crime Victims
To address the issue of victim identity exposure during civil litigation proceedings, three bills have been introduced in the 21st National Assembly. Representatives Park Jumin, Kim Namguk, and Seo Iljun presented the bills, collectively known as the “Partial Amendment to the Civil Procedure Act.” The core objective of these bills is to protect the personal information of victims who file compensation claims against perpetrators.

Specific Provisions and Objectives
Each of the proposed bills incorporates provisions designed to ensure the confidentiality of victims’ personal information. Park’s and Kim’s bills aim to prevent the disclosure of the plaintiff’s personal information, including their name, when delivering or serving lawsuit records or preparatory documents to the defendant. On the other hand, Rep. Seo’s bill suggests that the court can redact the plaintiff’s personal information mentioned in the judgment before delivering it to the defendant upon the court’s discretion or at the plaintiff’s request.

Although progress has been made in recognizing the issue and proposing legislative measures, the bills have remained stagnant in the National Assembly’s Legislation and Judiciary Committee for more than two years. This delay raises concerns about the effectiveness of the current system in protecting crime victims and ensuring their safety.

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