Korean Criminal Law: Moralist Prima Ratio for Social Control

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Cho, Kuk
Issue Date
BK 21 law
Journal of Korean Law, Vol.1 No.1, pp. 77-96
The fundamental framework of the Korean Penal Code has remained unchanged for half a century. However, a large number of special criminal acts armed with heavier punishments have been legislated. Since democratization, the question of whether the provisions of Korean criminal law are against “nullum

crimen, nulla poena sine lege” has been taken more seriously. Arguments for the liberalization or “decriminalization” of Korean criminal law have proliferated. However, there is still a trend toward “overcriminalization”, and heavier punishment is still preferred for social control. Without serious debate over the legitimacy of subjecting citizens to double jeopardy, “protective security measures” are imposed upon citizens who have already served their sentences. Criminal law is “prima ratio,” not “ultima ratio,” for social control in Korean society. Korean criminal law reform must attempt to perform two seemingly

contradicting tasks: it must not only de-criminalize the over-criminalized criminal law, it must also provide a blueprint for solving the worsening crime problem in modern Korean society.
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College of Law/Law School (법과대학/대학원)The Law Research Institute (법학연구소) Journal of Korean LawJournal of Korean Law Volume 01 Number 1/2 (2001)
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