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[Newsmaker] Panel kicks off to review mishandling of sex crime probe

Defense Minister Suh Wook (left) and former Supreme Court Justice Kim So-young. (Ministry of National Defense)
Defense Minister Suh Wook (left) and former Supreme Court Justice Kim So-young. (Ministry of National Defense)
A committee comprising civilian experts kicked off Friday to advise the military on its handling of a sex crime investigation that is believed to have led to the suicide of a sexually assaulted soldier.

An Air Force master sergeant took her life in late May after her complaint had gone unanswered for months because of what her family claims is an “extensive cover-up” by the Air Force. The head of the Air Force has since resigned, taking responsibility for her death.

The outside panel of civilians, led by former Supreme Court Justice Kim So-young, will help ensure the military run a thorough and transparent investigation to bring anyone involved in a cover-up to justice, Defense Minister Suh Wook said.

It is the first time outside experts -- from legal circles, academia, media and civic groups -- have been brought in to sit on a military prosecution team.

The panel will be a stepping stone to building a new military culture that respects justice and human rights, Suh added.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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