[EDITORIALS]Don’t scrap the security lawThe Constitutional Court ruled yesterday that Clauses 1 and 5 of Article 7 of the National Security Law are in line with constitutional principles.
Amid the heated dispute over the abolition of the law, the court acknowledged the necessity of the security law, saying that it does not go against legal principles.
The court’s decision that Clause 1 ― Praise and Encouragement ― is constitutional is very meaningful. Critics of the law have claimed that such a clause, which allows punishment of those who praise and encourage anti-state activities and systems, may be abused.
But the court judged that the possibility that the clause may be abused or misused almost does not exist with the 1991 revisions that specify violators as those “with the knowledge that such action threatens the nation’s existence and security and the order of liberal democracy.”
Now, with the court’s ruling, it is likely that the view supporting a revision, rather than the opinion that the law should be totally removed, will be valued more. The section in which the court acknowledged the necessity of keeping Article 7 is worth looking at. It said, “Article 7 has its own value, which is separate from the Criminal Code. It is not against the legal principle that restricts the minimum freedom of expression when necessary.”
The ruling maintained the court’s previous position, which said, “Rebellion and treason charges in the Criminal Code, as they are old and premised on times of peace, are not sufficient for the self-security and protection of South Korea currently.”
Considering the fact that the critics of the law have maintained the position that important anti-state activities can be punished according to the Criminal Code, not according to the security law, it is clear that the ruling has sent a clear message to them.
The law may well be changed based on advances in inter-Korean relations. But a total removal of the law, which neglects the stern reality of the partition of the Korean Peninsula, should not be permitted. The law is the basis or armor that protects the liberal democratic order of a legal country. We thus have claimed that it needs to be changed gradually according to changes in inter-Korean relations.
We ask the National Assembly to consider public opinion and the import of the Constitutional Court’s ruling when it deals with the security law issue.