28 July 2009

South Korea Pardons 1.5 million

The August 15th pardon in South Korea will apply to:

1.5 million citizens convicted of economic crimes. The presidential amnesty marking Liberation Day will not be extended to public officials and businessmen . . . to only those involved in livelihood-related crimes, who are farmers, fishers, poor citizens and in particular people who earn a living by driving but have had their drivers' license suspended[.]

From the Pardon Power blog, citing the Korea Herald.

Liberation Day, which is August 15, is the traditional day of the year for Presidential pardons in South Korea, much as pardons are most typically granted at Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day in the United States.

The exclusion of "public officials and businessmen" is a mea culpa for pardons of high profile white collar criminals last year.

I suspect that a lot of the offenses are traffic violations, something that would not normally be called or viewed as an "economic crime" in the United States. The pardon covers about 3% of the South Korean population, I doubt that even the United States has that many people with criminal histories that would include what we would consider "economic crimes."

Still, the scale of the clemency involved in this pardon exceeds that of any pardon in U.S. history, by raw numbers or percentage of population, with the possible exception of one mass pardon following the U.S. Civil War.

No comments: