The National Human Rights Commission recommended Tuesday that South Korea accede to an international protocol renouncing the use of death penalty.
The 11 members of the commission unanimously made the recommendation that the country join the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which aims to the abolish the death penalty, during the first meeting presided over by new Chairperson Choi Yeong-ae.
South Korea is one of four members of the 36-nation Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that have not yet acceded to the protocol, along with the United States, Israel and Japan.
South Korea has a de-facto moratorium on capital punishment.
The country still issues the death penalty, but has not carried out an execution since 1998, nor has the country officially declared its discontinuance.
"Opinion polls have so far shown that a majority of people expressed views that the death penalty is inevitable due to such reasons as extreme pain and sense of loss among victims' families, the realization of justice and crime prevention," the commission said.
"We are well aware of these views and concerns, but it is difficult to see it as the only and genuine compensation to victims and their families to deprive criminals of their lives," it said.
By acceding to the protocol, the commission said it hopes the country will make the suspension of executions official and take steps to abolish capital punishment.
It also urged the government to vote for a UN resolution on a moratorium on the death penalty expected to be tabled at the UN General Assembly in December. (Yonhap)