Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Korean justice for the transgendered?

The Korea Beat posted an article today about a recent Busan court decision in which a 29-year old man was found guilty of raping a "male-to-female transgendered person." The reason that this is news is not just because a rape occurred, but because the decision overturns a 1996 Supreme Court decision refusing to recognize the rape of a transgendered person as a crime. (South Korean law does not, unfortunately, recognize men as rape victims, though last August a parliamentary measure was introduced to extend rape protection to men and transsexuals. Not sure what happened to that bill.)

What makes this even MORE interesting is the fact that the prosecution is appealing the case to the Supreme Court. (The defense has also filed their own appeal.) Although the prosecutors are actually appealing the acquittal of the defendant on certain charges, like aggravated burglary, they filed the appeal in the hopes that the Supreme Court will hear the case and uphold the rape conviction, thus overturning the 1996 decision.

A member of the Busan District Public Prosecutor’s Office (부산지검) said, “we are appealing because, as our society’s views of the transgendered have undergone significant changes and inasmuch as this is a rare case, we need a final judgment from the Supreme Court.

This article made Lisa wonder if the prosecution's appeal was made with the support of the rape victim, or if that even matters in the Korean legal system.

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