National Assembly passes special Truth Bill on Killing of Civilians in 1948
SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) – The National Assembly on Tuesday passed a special bill aimed at uncovering the truth about the South Korean government’s bloody crackdown on civilians during a rebellion by left-wing soldiers in the towns of Yeosu and Suncheon, in the southwest of the 73 years ago.
The special Yeosu-Suncheon incident bill also aims to restore the honor of civilian casualties estimated by a ruling party lawmaker at 11,000.
The incident began on October 19, 1948, when around 2,000 left-wing soldiers in Yeosu, 455 kilometers south of Seoul, took up arms after refusing an order to go to Jeju Island to suppress left-wing protests against South Korea. government, which had been put in place two months earlier.
The military protest, which took place amid an impregnable ideological divide on the Korean Peninsula following its liberation in 1945 from colonial rule by Japan, quickly turned into a widespread uprising as civilians in and near Yeosu from Suncheon joined the soldiers. The massive massacre of civilians occurred during the authorities’ crackdown on the anti-government movement.
The special bill provides for the establishment of a committee of investigation and honor restoration of victims reporting to the office of the Prime Minister and a relevant working committee reporting to the office of the governor of South Jeolla province. , where Yeosu and Suncheon are located.
The committee will have the right to uncover the truth about the incident and to ask those under investigation and witnesses to submit statements and be interviewed in person for two years after its inception. It can also issue an accompanying order for key witnesses who refuse to comply with the summons more than three times.
The special bill also includes clauses calling on the state to provide medical and life support to victims of the incident. Passage of the bill came after four failed attempts since 2001.