SEOUL, Jan. 8 (UPI) — A South Korean court docket ordered Japan to pay compensation to 12 so-called consolation ladies who have been used as intercourse slaves throughout World Battle II in a landmark ruling issued Friday that’s prone to inflame tensions between the East Asian neighbors.
In its verdict, which is the primary of its sort, Seoul Central District Courtroom dominated that Japan should pay damages of $91,900 to every of the 5 surviving plaintiffs and the members of the family of those that have died because the case was initially filed in 2013.
The ladies have been kidnapped and compelled into wartime brothels the place they have been “uncovered to fixed violence, torture and sexual assault,” the court docket wrote in its ruling, actions it described as a “crime towards humanity.”
Japan’s international ministry issued an announcement protesting the ruling later Friday, calling it “completely unacceptable” and asserting that it had instantly summoned South Korean Ambassador to Japan Nam Gwang-pyo.
The ministry’s assertion repeated Japan’s long-held rivalry that every one wartime reparations claims have been settled by a 1965 bilateral treaty that normalized relations between the 2 nations.
An extra 2015 settlement between then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the since-impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye contributed some $Eight million to arrange a basis to assist the consolation ladies. The ministry referred to as the step a “last and irreversible resolution” between the 2 governments in its assertion.
Nevertheless, in 2017, South Korean President Moon Jae-in declared that the negotiations had critical flaws and stated the settlement “doesn’t resolve the difficulty over consolation ladies.”
The Seoul court docket wrote in its resolution Friday that the victims’ rights to assert damages weren’t overridden by the state-level agreements.
Japan didn’t take part within the case and has argued that it has state immunity, a doctrine that claims a sovereign state can’t be sued in a international court docket with out its consent.
Friday’s verdict additionally rejected that declare.
“[Japan’s acts] are a criminal offense towards humanity, violating the worldwide norms of enforcement and have been dedicated towards the plaintiffs who have been Korean residents on the Korean Peninsula, which was below unlawful occupation by the Japanese Empire on the time,” the decision learn.
Japan occupied Korea from 1910-1945, a interval of colonization that ended after World Battle II. Some historians estimate that as much as 200,000 women and girls, primarily Koreans, have been used as intercourse slaves by Japan in army brothels.
The connection between Seoul and Tokyo is sophisticated at finest, however ties have been notably strained since South Korea’s Supreme Courtroom dominated in 2018 that two Japanese corporations should pay compensation to wartime victims of pressured labor.
The ruling sparked a commerce conflict and led to a widespread boycott of Japanese merchandise in South Korea. Seoul additionally threatened to withdraw from a army intelligence sharing settlement with Tokyo earlier than deciding to stay within the pact in 2019 below strain from Washington.
Kim Kang-won, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, praised Friday’s verdict, saying he felt “very emotional,” including he would evaluate methods to implement the court docket’s resolution, information company Yonhap reported.
One other ruling in an analogous case towards Japan involving former consolation ladies is predicted subsequent Wednesday.