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Constitutional Court orders enacting right to reject DNA collection

The Constitutional Court has ruled that law enforcement's collection of a sample of a person's DNA without a due procedure for the person to raise objections does not conform the Constitution, the court said Tuesday.

In a 6-3 decision, the nine-judge panel ruled against the current system of court warrants forcing DNA sample collections and gave the National Assembly until Dec. 31, 2019 to change the related law. 


The ruling came after a group of street vendors lodged a petition claiming their basic rights were violated when they were forced to give DNA samples to the prosecution on court warrants and were denied any chance to refuse.

They were indicted for trespassing on private property and obstructing business while staging a protest against the establishment of a large shopping mall near the area where they had run their street stalls. They were convicted of the charges in October 2015.

The Constitutional Court ruled it unfair as the law "does not stipulate the procedure required for a judge to ascertain whether the subject has agreed to give his or her DNA."

That potentially allows law enforcement to keep a record of the person's DNA in a database without his or her consent and use it for future investigations, and it infringes the person's right to access the courts, the court said. (Yonhap)