President Moon Jae-in on Friday commemorated the Gwangju pro-democracy uprising in 1980, with a renewed pledge to bring to justice those responsible for the military's bloody crackdown.
"Today, I solemnly commemorate those killed in Gwangju and look back on the tears of many citizens who did not hold back to defend the values of democracy," Moon wrote in a Facebook message.
The president noted much about the uprising and the military's armed crackdown on what was initially a peaceful demonstration continued to remain hidden even after nearly four decades.
|President Moon Jae-in (AP-Yonhap)|
"The reason we are more ashamed today is because of the fact that we still do not know everything even after 38 years, and that we still have not been able to heal the wounds of the victims," he said.
The remarks came after recent reports and testimonies of some female victims of sexual assault by military personnel then cracking down on the democratization movement.
Moon vowed to bring those responsible to justice, saying the government will soon launch a joint investigation team of the defense, gender equality ministries and the National Human Rights Commission.
"It will do its utmost to make sure the dignity of each and every victim is restored," he said.
He also offered his gratitude to the victims, noting their sacrifice and courage to go up against the then military government was what allowed not only his election but the peaceful daily lives of all.
"Because of Gwangju, we, ordinary citizens, could remember what justice is," Moon said. "The candlelight vigils were a resurrection of Gwangju in May 1980, and that is what led to the birth of the Moon Jae-in government." (Yonhap)