One of the most fierce discourses of justice that penetrated the tradition and modern times in Korean history, at least after the Joseon Dynasty, is'clearing the past history'.

First, in the Joseon Dynasty, Jeong Mong-ju was followed by Taejong, the identity of Sarim, who suffered anger from the four major historical stories, and the sayuksin and Danjong and three phases sacrificed in the process of usurping the throne of King Sejo-Boin Hwang, Jongseo Kim, and Jeongbun- Such as the criticism.

(...) Even in modern times, the liquidation of past history has been promoted in earnest after democratization.

This fact shows that the clearing of the past history, which corrects the unjust history committed by the exercise of public power in Korean history that has persisted since the Joseon Dynasty, is the most important theme of the theory of justice.

(...) The clearing of past history is the process of declaring and confirming that members of the political community are the subject of history by publicly correcting wrong past history.

-<The Democratization of Korea and the Confucianization of Joseon in the Center of the Liquidation of Past History>, Jung-in Kang

Historian Kang Jeong-in studies the work of clearing the past history that followed after the change of power and history of the Joseon Dynasty, and connects it with the work of clearing the past history in modern Korean history.

And, hundreds of years ago or even now, the work of clearing up the past is interpreted as a kind of'politics of memory' in which members of the political community at the time declare and affirm that they are the subjects of new history.

According to this perspective, the fact that the process of organizing past history has been linked to the current political agenda has been repeated throughout history.

What kind of'politics of memory' was it?

Objectivity and expertise must be in place in the process of collecting and analyzing data for historical investigation.

Individual political orientation may have an effect in the process of investigating members expressing their opinions and debating based on data analysis, but even in this case, the objective obligation as an expert must not be completely abandoned.

However, it is difficult to avoid the past history investigation and reorganization process affecting the political agenda outside the investigation team.

This is a fact that has been repeated historically, and it is also desirable in terms of enriching the meaning of'past history' in the sphere of public opinion and politics.

Therefore, criticizing'politicization of the investigation process' is different from criticizing that'the investigation process produces political waves'.

In the latter case, it is possible to reproduce only political skepticism and vainness by making the target of criticism what is not possible or desirable.

Therefore, the direction of verification and criticism should be directed toward looking into what happened in the process of'politics of memory' rather than the phenomenon in which'politics' is derived through the process of organizing past history.

The important question is whether fact-based logic becomes the basis for the formation of a political agenda, or whether distorted and twisted facts, such as the four letters of the'lord of the heads' engraved on a leaf, become the material for the formation of the political agenda.

Controversy over distortion

In this respect, the process of'Politics of Memory' in our society, which took place with the investigation team of Kim Hak's past history, left many tasks.

The biggest problem is that the public documents used as evidence in this process did not sufficiently guarantee the reliability.

Some of the contents are known to the world through media reports, and the investigation records that gave the cause of'prosecution reform' and'clearing the redemption' to Kim Hak's investigation of the past are now at the center of controversy over falsehood and distortion.

On December 29, 2018, the following three points were distorted in the <Interview Report with Yoon Joong-cheon> written by Prosecutor Lee Gyu-won of Kim Hak's Past History Investigation Group.

△The point that Yoon Jung-cheon had given tens of millions of won of cash to Kim Hak-eui, a senior prosecutor's office, and Han Sang-dae △The point that Yoon Jung-cheon had known with Gap-geun Yoon, an opposition politician at the time of the investigation in the past, and that Gap-geun Yoon would have also visited the Wonju villa △And Seok-Yeol Yoon It is said that the former prosecutor general also got to know Yoon Joong-cheon.

On February 14, 2019, in the <Interview Report with Park Gwan-cheon> prepared by Prosecutor Gyu-won Lee, there is a controversy over distortion. In spite of various controversies, the background of Kim Hak-ei's failure to become a high-ranking vice minister of the Ministry of Justice is the fact that the friendship between Choi Seo-won (formerly Choi Soon-sil) and Kim Hak-eui's wife worked.

All of these contents were leaked to the media through some means and used as a material for strengthening the political agenda. Reports that Yoon Seok-yeol, who was recognized as an obstacle to the reform of the prosecution during the'motherland crisis', was associated with Kim Hak-ei, reports that Choi Seo-won, the pronoun of red abolition, is located behind Kim Hak-ei, and opposition politicians are related to the red-evil cartel centered on Kim Hak-ei It was reported that there was. All of these were used to support that Kim Hak's re-investigation process was contributing to the'prosecution reform' and the'clearing of redemption'.

All of these reports were found to have some degree of falsehood when a judgment was made for damages in the course of a civil lawsuit, or as the reported media admitted that they were misrepresented. In the ongoing investigation by the Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office, Criminal Section 1 (Director Byun Pil-gun), the interviewees Yoon Joong-cheon and Park Kwan-cheon are said to have denied the contents of the Interview Report. Prosecutor Lee Gyu-won said to SBS reporters that "the reports that the interview report is distorted are different from the facts", but other prosecutors who participated in the interview with Prosecutor Lee Gyu-won also argue that "the process of preparing the interview report was not accurate." . These documents with too many question marks were used as the basis for the political discourse that resonated with the investigation of Kim Hak's past history.

In response to this, criticism has been raised for the purpose of ``just catching pods to point out that because some impurities have been mixed in the firewood to extinguish the flames of the history of prosecutors' reform and the liquidation of redemption.''

However, the problem is that if you start to loosen the standard of this'firewood that can be mixed in', this range can expand indefinitely.

The honor of Gap-geun Yoon, damaged for being an opposition politician, and the human rights of Hak-Kim Kim's wife, neglected for being the wife of a corrupt official

If, for one reason or another, the object of firewood, which can be used as fuel for the flames of history, begins to widen, in the distant future, when a flame of another name burns, the life of an innocent man may also be used as firewood.

Between'bribery' and'sexual violence'...

Finding out the suspicion of'Kim Hak's care' who could not find the target

The process of investigation and debate, which was not fierce, also left a flaw in the process of'politics of memory' derived from the investigation of Kim Hak's past history. One of the things that the public did not understand in'Kim Hak-e's case' is'Why couldn't Kim Hak-ei be punished in 2013, when the controversy first emerged?' The question is,'Why couldn't the prosecutors and police hold legal responsibility for Kim Hak-eui, the deputy attorney appointed by the Park Geun-hye administration, despite such great public suspicion?' These questions include specific questions such as'Why could the prosecution not condemn Kim Hak-ui's sexual entertainment as a bribe in the first place?' and'Why did the prosecution unconvict the charges of special rape by Yoon Jung-cheon and Kim Hak-ui?' It stretches out. And these suspicions have become an important material for setting political agendas such as'reform the prosecution' and'installation of airlifts'.

In response to these questions, the prosecution parties at the time in 2013 say "there was a reason." At the time of the first investigation of Kim Hak's case, a prosecution official who decided to allocate the case to the'Powerful Department' rather than the'Special Department', which is mainly responsible for bribery investigation, said, "The police sent the case for sex crimes and contained drug-related content. That's why it was allocated to the powerful department," he told SBS reporters. "When the first dividend is done, it is before the prosecution investigation, so you have no choice but to make a dividend based on the record of the case sent by the police." It would have been a rhetoric with conclusions.” At the time, a prosecution official who participated in the investigation by receiving the case from the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office also said, "Although it was the case of the Ministry of Power, we also investigated bribery charges." "But at the time, it was said that Yoon Joong-cheon and Kim Hak-ui did not even know each other," he said. "But after going through the main investigation, such as sex crimes and drug charges, it was revealed that they had acquaintances with each other." The official said, "However, it is impossible to prosecute the bribery charges for simply coming and going for money and goods and entertainment, and it was difficult to prove this at the time, although'the false value for the job' should be recognized." In short, due to the practical difficulties of the investigation, the bribery charge failed to prove legally, but it was not intentionally'looked for'.

The attempts to clarify these suspicions are written on hundreds of pages in the <Research Report of Kim Hak's Past History> obtained by SBS.

The report meticulously pointed out, based on the records of the investigation at the time, that'there are some aspects that the prosecution's investigation was not good at even though there were statements that could be expanded into bribery investigations.

However, the report appears to have failed to clearly refute the clarifications of investigators at the time that'there were practical limitations, but not outright care.'

This is because the first button to identify the suspicion was not properly sewn.

First of all, in order to sharpen the prosecution's suspicion of'Kim Hak's care', how much is the summary of whether this case was a'bribery' in the form of sexual entertainment or a'sex crime' involving special rape by Kim Hak-eui and Yoon Jung-cheon? Was necessary.

This is because Kim Hak-e-Yun Jung-cheon's crime charges, that is, the charges that the prosecution had been'looked for' had to be materialized to clearly criticize how'looked for' was achieved.

In addition, the logic that'the sex of women between Yoon Joong-cheon and Kim Hak-ga was bribe' and'Kim Hak's Yoon Joong-cheon committed a special rape against women' were naturally incompatible.

After the activities of the past investigation team ended, the prosecution's special team of Kim Hak-eui applied bribery charges to Kim Hak-eui and sexual crimes to Yoon Jung-cheon for what happened at the Wonju villa.

However, the first trial court hearing the charges of Yoon Jung-cheon criticized that it was difficult to understand the logic that bribery and special rape are compatible with the same facts.

The fact of the prosecution is that Hak-ei Kim was an unintentional tool that was completely unaware of the rape of Yoon Joong-cheon, and was used in the rape of Yoon Joong-cheon. However, in a related case, the prosecutor accused him of bribery for bribing Kim Hak-ei. (…) It is difficult to understand that Yoon Jung-cheon himself raped and offered a bribe to the prosecutor Kim Hak-ei at the same opportunity. -Jung-Chun Yoon, the 33rd Criminal Division of the Seoul Central District Court, in the first trial

Nevertheless, the report failed to debate the least as to whether the'sex crime' nature should be more important in Kim Hak's case or the'bribery' nature should be more important.

In a situation where [Plan 1], which judged women as'prostitutes' and [2], judged as'sexual assault victims', coexist without any controversy, the report summarizes the allegations of being the subject of'suspect suspicion of care'. In fact, it failed.

(▶ Link to related report file) In this situation, finding out the'suspect suspicion' was like shooting a gun without setting a target.

In fact, the criticisms on the'suspecting of the sword and respect' stated in the report do not form a single point of impact and are scattered sporadically.

Kim Hak-eui, who was treated sexually in a special investigation by the prosecution after the end of the investigation team, was charged with bribery.

However, the first trial court sentenced him to innocence, saying that the ‘competitive performance’, which is the core of the establishment of bribery, was not recognized.

The second trial court, which sentenced Hak-ei Kim to imprisonment, also convicted of a separate bribery charge, and judged that the bribery was not sufficiently proven in the controversial'villa sexual entertainment' case.

The'look-aside suspicion' that angered the public in this way disappeared behind the veil of history, missing almost the last chance to be clarified.

And where the possibility disappeared, only the various mirages created by the suspicion and anger of the public were placed.

On condemning monsters in the way of monsters

These were the reform tasks triggered by the'Kim Hak's case'. Pointing out that prosecutors are politically investigating while seeing the power of power, criticizing that public opinion is created through excessive publicity of suspected charges in the investigation process, and that extra dust and dust are investigated through this, and prosecutors are fully responsible for all these things. It is pointed out that they do not lose.

The officials of Kim Hak's past history investigation team, which was launched along with this wave of prosecution reform, however, used a similar method to the prosecution in the past when they attacked them as'monsters'. No, in some ways, it went further from the monster's way. Inaccurate suspicions, which are difficult to say, were circulated in the media, and in every important phase, they showed that they leaned on public opinion rather than records and facts. And by not even leaving a white paper that records the process, it became difficult to find out where to take responsibility for all of this.

Through this process, Kim Hak's special team took over the ball thrown by Kim Hak's past history investigation team. Despite the criticism of lawyers that it was not a special investigation, the special team collected all the alleged facts and prosecuted Kim Hak-eui and Yoon Jung-cheon. However, the court judged that either Kim Hak-eui's charges of sexual entertainment bribery and Yoon Joong-cheon's sexual crimes could be morally condemned, but not legally condemned. The distrust of the people has now spread to the point that'the courts are also in a row'. Rather than moving toward a better future by clearing the past, only bigger doubts remain. The result of those who said they would catch monsters in the'monster's way' was only'the ruins of trust'.

The public debate to look back on Kim Hak's past investigation team is creating another political controversy. Since public debate has already become quite a political issue, it seems meaningless to determine whether it is political or not. The question is, how does the process of'politics of memory', which is taking place once more in this process, come true? If this'politics of memory' is repeated in a similar way again, we may have to live in the past without continuing to move forward.


-<The Democratization of Korea and the Confucianization of Joseon in the Center of the Clearing of Past History>, Korean Political Research Vol. 28, No. 1, Kang


, 2018,

-[Exclusive] Jung-Chun Yoon, 1st Tribunal "Rape and bribe Kim Hak-eui? Criticism of unreasonable prosecution, Kyunghyang Shinmun, reporter Yoo Seol-hee on November 27, 2019

▶ View the series of

report files for Hak Kim's case [Report File] Hak Kim's case ① How did Hak Kim's case come so far

[Report file] Hak Kim's case ② A parallel line between exploitation and use, without discussion

[Reporting File] Hak Kim's case ③ Role of experts for'productive energy conversion of public opinion'