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S. Korean court dismisses case brought by 'comfort women,' citing Japan's state immunity Updated: 2021-04-22 06:06:10 KST

A regional court in Seoul has dismissed a civil suit on compensating the victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery system saying it has no jurisdiction due to the concept of state immunity.
This means the case won't even get tried.
The decision sides with the Japanese government's claim of sovereign immunity and goes against a ruling which saw a different group of plaintiffs win their claim against the Japanese government earlier this year.
Seoul Central District Court on Wednesday said, "When we recognize exemptions of sovereign immunity, diplomatic clashes will inevitably ensue."
In addition, the court used the case of the 2015 bilateral agreement between the two countries as one of the reasons behind the decision.
It said that despite some of the voices of the victims and organizations being undermined in that agreement it wasn't enough to consider the agreement void with some of the victims being compensated through it as well.
Joining this round's 20 plaintiffs was Lee Yong-su, a 93-year-old "Comfort Women" survivor well known around the world for her efforts in holding the Japanese government to account.
"Comfort Women" is a euphemism that refers to the hundreds of thousands of the victims of sexual slavery.

"I'm shocked. Regardless of the results, good or bad, we will be going to International Court of Justice. That's all I can say."

The case was brought to court in 2016, but has been constantly delayed due to Japanese government's unresponsive stance.
But in a similar case in January this year, the court said the immunity didn't apply to systematic crimes against humanity.
In that case, it told the Japanese government to pay more than 90-thousand U.S. dollars to each of the 12 plaintiffs.
Tokyo remained unresponsive resulting in no appeal and the decision being final in favor of the victims.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.
Reporter : tkim@arirang.com
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