South Korea votes for UN resolution on suspending death penalty


Seoul: South Korea for the first time voted in favour of a United Nations resolution calling for the suspension of the death penalty, the justice ministry said Wednesday.

The resolution at the UN Third Committee, which oversees humanitarian issues, expresses concern about the continued execution of the death penalty and calls for gradually limiting its execution, in addition to declaring a moratorium with its eventual abolition in mind, Yonhap news agency reported.

The UN adopted similar resolutions seven times between 2007 and 2018, but South Korea abstained each time due to apparent concerns about creating controversy over the possible abolition of the death penalty.

The ministry said South Korea voted in favour of the resolution this year because the country is recognized by the international community as having effectively scrapped the death penalty and because of the growing number of UN member states voting in its favour.

“The question of whether to abolish the death penalty is a serious issue that has to do with the foundations of the state’s punitive powers, so we will study it carefully based on an overall analysis of the death penalty’s role in criminal policy, public opinion and domestic and overseas situations,” the ministry said.

South Korea last executed the death penalty December 30, 1997.