Court orders payout for slain Korean War activists
SEOUL - Agence France-Presse
SKorea-NKorea-reunions-families by Nam You-Sun South Korean Kim Kyung-Jae (L) and Shim Goo-Seob (R) check mails from North Korea in Seoul on July 30,2012. AFP photoSouth Korea's top court has ordered the state to compensate families of hundreds of activists killed during the Korean War after being labelled as North Korean sympathisers, a court official said Monday.
The Supreme Court ordered the state to pay up to 40 million won ($30,000) for each of 492 family members who had filed a joint suit against the state, overruling the government's argument about a statutory limit, its spokesman said.
"We believe ... that the government's argument about the statutory limit is a misuse of rights and is against the principle of bona fide," the court said in the ruling that upheld an earlier decision by the Seoul High Court in April.
After the division of the Korean Peninsula in 1948, the South Korean government formed an anti-communist organisation and forced tens of thousands of left-wing activists and artists to join as part of a widespread anti-communism campaign.
After the Korean War broke out in 1950, many of its members were detained by authorities who feared they would collaborate with the enemy North.
At least 4,900 of them were confirmed to have been killed by police or soldiers during the conflict, according to a special probe by Seoul from 2007 to 2009.
About 400 members were detained in a barn in Ochang village in the midwestern province of North Chungcheong in 1950 and shot dead.
Families of the victims filed the suit against the state in 2009, saying the government had detained and executed them without a proper trial or on a reasonable ground.
Late former president Roh Moo-Hyun in 2008 offered an official apology for the thousands of victims, calling their deaths "a big tragedy of the nation's modern history".