Home World In a First, South Korea Is Ordered to Compensate a Vietnam Warfare Sufferer

In a First, South Korea Is Ordered to Compensate a Vietnam Warfare Sufferer



SEOUL — A​ court docket in Seoul dominated on Tuesday that South Korean marines had been responsible of committing a bloodbath of unarmed villagers through the Vietnam Warfare​ and ordered the South Korean authorities to compensate one of many Vietnamese victims.​

The ruling was the primary of its form and anticipated to set a precedent within the nation​, the place the federal government has lengthy refused to deal with allegations of civilian massacres by South Korean troops in Vietnam.

Nguyen Thi Thanh, 62, sued the South Korean authorities in 2020, saying that she misplaced 5 relations — and he or she and her brother had been gravely wounded — when South Korean marines swept by way of the Phong Nhi and Phong Nhut villages in central Vietnam on Feb. 12, 1968, killing greater than 70 villagers​.

Many of the victims, shot or stabbed with bayonets​, had been girls and youngsters who had been “murdered” as they pleaded for his or her lives,in keeping with ​an American army officer who investigated the incident shortly after it occurred.

As a part of the ruling, ​Choose Park Jin-soo of the Seoul Central District Court docket ordered the federal government to pay ​Ms. Nguyen $23,900 in compensation​, saying that what members of the Second Marine Brigade of South Korea did to ​her household “clearly amounted to an unlawful act​.” The decide agreed with Ms. Nguyen that South Korean marines rounded up the villagers at gunpoint and massacred them. The decide additionally threw out the federal government legal professionals’ try and invoke the statute of limitations. ​

The ruling marked the primary time a South Korean court docket held the federal government answerable for a bloodbath of civilians through the Vietnam Warfare.

“I’m so joyful to listen to the information,” ​Ms. Nguyen, who didn’t attend the court docket ruling in Seoul on Tuesday, stated in a video clip distributed by her South Korean legal professionals. “I feel the souls of the victims stood by me through the trial.”

South Korea despatched 320,000 troops to Vietnam, making it the biggest overseas contingent combating alongside American forces within the conflict. However rumors have lengthy persevered that South Korean troops dedicated mass killings of Vietnamese civilians.​

When Ms. Nguyen enlisted the assistance of human rights legal professionals and civic teams in Seoul to file her lawsuit three years in the past, she grew to become the primary sufferer of such an alleged bloodbath to hunt redress in a South Korean court docket. The South Korean Protection Ministry stated on Tuesday that it was discussing the court docket ruling with different authorities companies.

The ruling ​might encourage victims of different alleged mass killings in Vietnam to file related lawsuits in South Korea. Ms. Nguyen’s legal professionals hoped that the ruling would immediate South Korea’s Parliament to go a particular regulation to research the long-held allegations that South Korean troops killed hundreds of civilians in Vietnam.

The killings at Phong Nhi and Phong Nhut befell a month earlier than the My Lai bloodbath, the place American troops killed tons of of unarmed Vietnamese civilians.

However efforts to return to phrases with the brutalities from one of many bloodiest wars in trendy historical past have triggered intense feelings in each the US and South Korea. Just one soldier — Lt. William Calley — was convicted within the My Lai bloodbath, and President Richard Nixon decreased his sentence from life imprisonment to a number of years of home arrest.

In 2000 in South Korea, Vietnam Warfare veterans attacked the workplace of a newsmagazine that reported wartime civilian massacres. Most of the veterans had lengthy complained about well being issues they stated had been brought on by the Agent Orange defoliant the American army used through the conflict.

The bloodbath in Phong Nhi and Phong Nhut was top-of-the-line documented among the many alleged mass killings blamed on South Korean troopers in Vietnam. The US army investigated the case simply days after the killings occurred, in keeping with declassified American paperwork.

In keeping with the paperwork, American Marines and South Vietnamese militiamen working in Dien Ban, Quang Nam Province, heard firing and noticed huts burning after the South Korean marine unit moved into Phong Nhi and Phong Nhut​ to research a small hearth​ that injured a marine​.

The U.S. Marines and the militiamen assisted villagers fleeing with wounds. The troopers later visited Phong Nhi and located piles of our bodies. One of many American Marines took footage, which had been introduced as proof in court docket.

In the course of the trial, the federal government’s legal professionals stated that there was not sufficient proof to show South Korean marines had dedicated a bloodbath. Even when it had occurred, they stated, it needs to be thought of an unlucky however not unlawful a part of guerrilla warfare between the Viet Cong and South Korean marines.

At trial, the testimony of Ryu Jin-seong, 76, a former member of the South Korean marine unit accused of killing the civilians in Ms. Nguyen’s village, endorsed her account.‌

For years, each the South Korean and Vietnamese governments had refused to debate the grievances of the victims in public, focusing as a substitute on boosting financial ties between the 2 nations. “However I stepped ahead to testify in court docket as a result of no one else would inform the reality,” Mr. Ryu stated throughout an internet discussion board final month. “South Korea should come clear on its previous.”

The South Korean authorities has every week to attraction the ruling.



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