World » Former USSR
Author`s name Ольга Савка

A Murder Can Be Forgiven

This is what the American justice believes

It seems that South Korea has forgotten about the mystical danger that was coming from the nuclear program of North Korea. Tens of thousands of South Korea citizens, mainly students, started burning American flags, chanting anti-American slogans around American army bases. The Seoul government had to get the help of 4400 police officers in order to defend the deployment sites of “American defenders.”

Here is the story that happened before this event. Two 14-year-old Korean schoolgirls were heading to their friend’s place for a birthday party on June 13th. An American tank ran them over and killed the girls. This tragedy definitely caused indignation amid the people of Korea. The indignation only increased during the dispute regarding the trial on the two members of the tank’s crew. The legal bodies of Korea insisted that the trial was supposed to take place in a Korean court. Yet, the Americans announced that the military men would be judged by American court martial. They claimed that the incident happened when the American soldiers were fulfilling their duty of service. It was also said that the soldiers were doing a training.

The USA was confused with the growing wave of protests. On June 27th the military command of the United States stated that it would be an “honest trial.” On November 22nd, a court martial ruled that the American military men were not guilty of the death of two Korean little girls. As it was explained in the verdict, the tank's driver had his view blocked, whereas the navigator’s communication equipment was out of order.

Since then, every step of the American authorities added more fuel to the fire. An American general released a statement for journalists, in which he expanded on the differences between the legal norms of the USA and Korea. President George Bush was four months late with his official apologies for South Korea. All those statements from American officials were perceived as scorn by the Koreans.

There was a campaign launched to collect signatures for the reconsideration of the legacy for the “American defenders” to stay in the country. A million of signatures has been collected already. The Korea Herald newspaper wrote that the Korean government was allowed to deal only with 69 of one thousand two hundred and forty six crimes, that were committed by the American military men  in South Korea during 1999-2001.  Those 69 crimes comprise only 5.5% of that, in spite of the fact that there was about 30% of serious crimes in that number.

In other words, 94.5% of crimes that were committed by the American military men in South Korea, were committed in the course of their “service of duty.” This is what the American command has acknowledged.  This should be taken into consideration by all East-European countries that are going to become NATO members, as well as by all Central Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern countries that opened their doors for the American “fighters against the international terrorism.” Better late than never.

Andrey Krushinsky

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov