Last month, the prosecution demanded the death penalty for Choi Shin-jong (31), who murdered two women. The prosecution demanded a death penalty, saying, the defendant shows no sign of repentance and his attitude of killing, abandoning, and raping victims as well as taking money is very malevolent. However, the court opposed this demand and sentenced Choi to life in prison. The court said that there seem to be enough reasons to deprive the defendant of his life itself, but when sentencing the penalty that deprives the people of their lives, we should be careful. The court added, it is reasonable to give a life sentence that takes away freedom rather than life and makes the defendant repent and reflect on himself. As such, there have been discussions on the death penalty over human rights and the right to life. The death penalty is disappearing from the international community due to the problem of violating the essential content of the right to life.
South Korea is classified as “a country where the death penalty has been substantially abolished” since 1997 when execution has been suspended in connection with such discussions. Although the death penalty is not carried out, it is still the maximum penalty allowable by law since parole and early release are impossible. However, I think the meaning of “death penalty” has virtually been lost because it is not carried out. We can think about whether we should revive the execution and maintain the word “death penalty,” or not.
The scale and damage of crimes committed by Choi that we looked at earlier are very large. Such serious crimes require proper punishments. Based on this, there are voices that argue on reviving the death penalty. However, I think the death penalty should be abolished. It is not about defending the human rights of criminals, but whether execution is necessarily needed. The reason for the death penalty is to prevent criminals from coming out to society and committing other crimes. However, the effectiveness of the death penalty’s inhibitory is not definite. Also, the death penalty has problems with the possibility of misjudgment and the possibility of innocent people being sacrificed due to abuse of execution. Penalties are decided by human, so accurate judgments and decisions are difficult to exist. Of course, more efforts and investments will be made to ensure that there is no possibility of misjudgment, but it is hard to say that all judgments are accurate. Also, since the death penalty has often been abused by political forces in history, we cannot be sure that it will not be abused in modern times.
Based on the reasons above, I think the death penalty can be abolished, but I want to emphasize the need to introduce a new system that can replace the death penalty. It seems that there has not been enough national and international discussion about it. Through further discussion, we need to overcome the limitations of the death penalty and study the punishment that can replace the death penalty. I know it will be difficult, but it should not remain unsolved. In addition, it is not right to exclude the nature of the death penalty and only talk about its existence and abolition. We have a problem of looking at the death penalty based on sentiment, such as retaliation. Rather than calling for the revival of the death penalty only in the case of terrible incidents, I think considering the various issues of the death penalty system and finding consensus among the people is a priority. It is time for a full review of the death penalty rather than just putting it off longer.
Byeon Ju-yeong firstname.lastname@example.org
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