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Constitution of the Republic of Korea (1948, rev. 1987)

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3Preamble

4We the people of Korea, proud of a resplendent history and traditions dating from time immemorial, upholding the cause of the Provisional Republic of Korea Government born of the March First Independence Movement of 1919 and the democratic ideals of the April Nineteenth Uprising of 1960 against injustice, having assumed the mission of democratic reform and peaceful unification of our homeland and having determined to consolidate national unity with justice, humanitarianism and brotherly love, and

5To destroy all social vices and injustice, and

6To afford equal opportunities to every person and provide for the fullest development of individual capabilities in all fields, including political, economic, civic and cultural life by further strengthening the basic free and democratic order conducive to private initiative and public harmony, and

7To help each person discharge those duties and responsibilities concomitant to freedoms and rights, and

8To elevate the quality of life for all citizens and contribute to lasting world peace and the common prosperity of mankind and thereby to ensure security, liberty and happiness for ourselves and our posterity forever,

9Do hereby amend, through national referendum following a resolution by the National Assembly, the Constitution, ordained and established on the Twelfth Day of July anno Domini Nineteen hundred and forty-eight, and amended eight times subsequently.

10The 29th Day of October anno Domini Nineteen hundred and eighty-seven.

11CHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

12Article 1

131. The Republic of Korea shall be a democratic republic.

142. The sovereignty of the Republic of Korea shall reside in the people, and all state authority shall emanate from the people.

15Article 2

161. Nationality in the Republic of Korea shall be prescribed by law.

172. It shall be the duty of the State to protect citizens residing abroad as prescribed by law.

18Article 3

19The territory of the Republic of Korea shall consist of the Korean peninsula and its adjacent islands.

20Article 4

21The Republic of Korea shall seek unification and shall formulate and carry out a policy of peaceful unification based on the principles of freedom and democracy.

22Article 5

231. The Republic of Korea shall endeavor to maintain international peace and shall renounce all aggressive wars.

242. The Armed Forces shall be charged with the sacred mission of national security and the defense of the land and their political neutrality shall be maintained.

25Article 6

261. Treaties duly concluded and promulgated in accordance with the Constitution and the generally recognized rules of international law shall have the same effect as the domestic laws of the Republic of Korea.

272. The status of aliens shall be guaranteed as prescribed by international law and treaties.

28Article 7

291. All public officials shall be servants of the entire people and shall be responsible to the people.

302. The status and political impartiality of public officials shall be guaranteed as prescribed by law.

31Article 8

321. The establishment of political parties shall be free, and the plural party system shall be guaranteed.

332. Political parties shall be democratic in their objectives, organization and activities, and shall have the necessary organizational arrangements for the people to participate in the formation of the political will.

343. Political parties shall enjoy the protection of the State and may be provided with operational funds by the State as prescribed by law.

354. If the purposes or activities of a political party are contrary to the fundamental democratic order, the Government may bring action against it in the Constitution Court for its dissolution, and, the political party shall be dissolved in accordance with the decision of the Constitution Court.

36Article 9

37The State shall strive to sustain and develop the cultural heritage and to enhance national culture.

38CHAPTER II. RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF CITIZENS

39Article 10

40All citizens shall be assured of human worth and dignity and have the right to pursue happiness. It shall be the duty of the State to confirm and guarantee the fundamental and inviolable human rights of individuals.

41Article 11

421. All citizens shall be equal before the law, and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic, societal or cultural life on account of sex, religion or social status.

432. No privileged caste shall be recognized or ever established in any form.

443. The awarding of decorations or distinctions of honor in any form shall be effective only for recipients, and no privileges shall ensue therefrom.

45Article 12

461. All citizens shall enjoy personal liberty. No person shall be arrested, detained, searched, seized or interrogated except as provided by law. No person shall be punished, placed under preventive restrictions or subject to involuntary labor except as provided by law and through lawful procedures.

472. No citizen shall be tortured or be compelled to testify against himself in criminal cases.

483. Warrants issued by a judge through due procedures upon the request of a prosecutor shall be presented in case of arrest, detention, seizure or search: except that, in case where a criminal suspect is apprehended flagrante delicto, or where there is danger that a person suspected of committing a crime punishable by imprisonment of three years or more may escape or destroy evidence, investigative authorities may request an ex post facto warrant.

494. Any person who is arrested or detained shall have the right to prompt assistance of counsel. When a criminal defendant is unable to secure counsel by his own efforts, the State shall assign counsel for the defendant as prescribed by law.

505. No person shall be arrested or detained without being informed of the reason therefor and of his right to assistance of counsel. The family, etc., as designated by law, of a person arrested or detained shall be notified without delay of the reason for and the time and place of the arrest or detention.

516. Any person who is arrested or detained shall have the right to request the court to review the legality of the arrest or detention.

527. In a case where a confession is deemed to have been made against a defendant's will due to torture, violence, intimidation, unduly prolonged arrest, deceit or etc., or in a case where a confession is the only evidence against a defendant in a formal trial, such a confession shall not be admitted as evidence of guilt nor shall a defendant be punished by reason of such a confession.

53Article 13

541. No citizen shall be prosecuted for an act which does not constitute a crime under the law in force at the time it was committed, nor shall he be placed in double jeopardy.

552. No restrictions shall be imposed upon the political rights of any citizen, nor shall any person be deprived of property rights by means of retroactive legislation.

563. No citizen shall suffer unfavorable treatment on account of an act not of his own doing but committed by a relative.

57Article 14

58All citizens shall enjoy freedom of residence and the right to move all will.

59Article 15

60All citizens shall enjoy freedom of occupation.

61Article 16

62All citizens shall be free from intrusion into their place of residence. In case of search or seizure in a residence, a warrant issued by a judge upon request of a prosecutor shall be presented.

63Article 17

64The privacy of no citizen shall be infringed.

65Article 18

66The privacy of correspondence of no citizen shall be infringed.

67Article 19

68All citizens shall enjoy freedom of conscience.

69Article 20

701. All citizens shall enjoy freedom of religion.

712. No state religion shall be recognized, and church and state shall be separated.

72Article 21

731. All citizens shall enjoy freedom of speech and the press, and freedom of assembly and association.

742. Licensing or censorship of speech and the press, and licensing of assembly and association shall not be recognized.

753. The standards of news service and broadcast facilities and matters necessary to ensure the functions of newspapers shall be determined by law.

764. Neither speech nor the press shall violate the honor or rights of other persons nor undermine public morals or social ethics. Should speech or the press violate the honor or rights of other persons, claims may be made for the damage resulting therefrom.

77Article 22

781. All citizens shall enjoy freedom of learning and the arts.

792. The rights of authors, inventors, scientists, engineers and artists shall be protected by law.

80Article 23

811. The right of property of all citizens shall be guaranteed. The contents and limitations thereof shall be determined by law.

822. The exercise of property rights shall conform to the public welfare.

833. Expropriation, use or restriction of private property from public necessity and compensation therefor shall be governed by law. However, in such a case, just compensation shall be paid.

84Article 24

85All citizens shall have the right to vote as prescribed by law.

86Article 25

87All citizens shall have the right to hold public office as prescribed by law.

88Article 26

891. All citizens shall have the right to petition in writing to any governmental agency as prescribed by law.

902. The State shall be obligated to examine all such petitions.

91Article 27

921. All citizens shall have the right to be tried in conformity with the law by judges qualified under the Constitution and the law.

932. Citizens who are not on active military service or employees of the military forces shall not be tried by a court martial within the territory of the Republic of Korea except in case of crimes prescribed by law involving important classified military information, sentinels, sentry posts, the supply of harmful food and beverages, prisoners of war and military articles and facilities and in the case of the proclamation of extraordinary martial law.

943. All citizens shall have the right to a speedy trial. The accused shall have the right to a public trial without delay in the absence of justifiable reasons to the contrary.

954. The accused shall be presumed innocent until a judgment of guilt has been pronounced.

965. A victim of a crime shall be entitled to make a statement during the proceedings of the trial of the case involved as prescribed by law.

97Article 28

98In a case where a criminal suspect or an accused person who has been placed under detention is not indicted as provided by law or is acquitted by a court, he shall be entitled to claim just compensation from the State as prescribed by law.

99Article 29

1001. In case a person has sustained damages by an unlawful act committed by a public official in the course of official duties, he may claim just compensation from the State or public organization as prescribed by law. In this case, the public official concerned shall not be immune from liabilities.

1012. In case a person on active military service or an employee of the military forces, a police official or others as prescribed by law sustains damages in connection with the performance of official duties such as combat action, drill and so forth, he shall not be entitled to a claim against the State or public organization on the grounds of unlawful acts committed by public officials in the course of official duties, but shall be entitled only to compensations as prescribed by law.

102Article 30

103Citizens who have suffered bodily injury or death due to criminal acts of others may receive aid from the State as prescribed by law.

104Article 31

1051. All citizens shall have an equal right to receive an education corresponding to their abilities.

1062. All citizens who have children to support shall be responsible at least for their elementary education and other education as provided by law.

1073. Compulsory education shall be free.

1084. Independence, professionalism and political impartiality of education and the autonomy of institutions of higher learning shall be guaranteed as prescribed by law.

1095. The State shall promote lifelong education.

1106. Fundamental matters pertaining to the educational system, including in-school and lifelong education, administration, finance, and the status of teachers shall be determined by law.

111Article 32

1121. All citizens shall have the right to work. The State shall endeavor to promote the employment of workers and to guarantee optimum wages through social and economic means and shall enforce a minimum wage system as prescribed by law.

1132. All citizens shall have the duty to work. The State shall prescribe by law the extent and conditions of the duty to work in conformity with democratic principles.

1143. Standards of working conditions shall be determined by law in such a way as to guarantee human dignity.

1154. Special protection shall be accorded to working women and they shall not be subjected to unjust discrimination in terms of employment, wages and working conditions.

1165. Special protection shall be accorded to working children.

1176. The opportunity to work shall be accorded preferentially, as prescribed by law, to those who have given distinguished service to the State, wounded veterans and policemen, and members of the bereaved families of military servicemen and policemen killed in action.

118Article 33

1191. To enhance working conditions, workers shall have the right to independent association, collective bargaining and collective action.

1202. Only those public officials who are designated by law shall have the right to association, collective bargaining and collective action.

1213. The right to collective action of workers employed by important defense industries may be either restricted or denied as prescribed by law.

122Article 34

1231. All citizens shall be entitled to a life worthy of human beings.

1242. The State shall have the duty to endeavor to promote social security and welfare.

1253. The State shall endeavor to promote the welfare and rights of women.

1264. The State shall have the duty to implement policies for enhancing the welfare of senior citizens and the young.

1275. Citizens who are incapable of earning a livelihood due to a physical disability, disease, old age or other reasons shall be protected by the State as prescribed by law.

1286. The State shall endeavor to prevent disasters and to protect citizens from harm therefrom.

129Article 35

1301. All citizens shall have the right to a healthy and pleasant environment. The State and all citizens shall endeavor to protect the environment.

1312. The substance of the environmental right shall be determined by law.

1323. The State shall endeavor to ensure comfortable housing for all citizens through housing development policies and the like.

133Article 36

1341. Marriage and family life shall be entered into and sustained on the basis of individual dignity and equality of the sexes, and the State shall do everything in its power to achieve that goal.

1352. The State shall endeavor to protect mothers.

1363. The health of all citizens shall be protected by the State.

137Article 37

1381. Freedoms and rights of citizens shall not be neglected on the grounds that they are not enumerated in the Constitution.

1392. The freedoms and rights of citizens may be restricted by law only when necessary for national security, the maintenance of law and order or for public welfare. Even when such restriction is imposed, no essential aspect of the freedom or right shall be violated.

140Article 38

141All citizens shall have the duty to pay taxes as prescribed by law.

142Article 39

1431. All citizens shall have the duty of national defense as prescribed by law.

1442. No citizen shall be treated unfavorably on account of the fulfillment of his obligation of military service.

145CHAPTER III. THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

146Article 40

147The legislative power shall be vested in the National Assembly.

148Article 41

1491. The National Assembly shall be composed of members elected by universal, equal, direct and secret ballot by the citizens.

1502. The number of members of the National Assembly shall be determined by law, but the number shall not be less than 200.

1513. The constituencies of members of the National Assembly, proportional representation and other matters pertaining to National Assembly elections shall be determined by law.

152Article 42

153The term of office of members of the National Assembly shall be four years.

154Article 43

155Members of the National Assembly shall not concurrently hold any other office prescribed by law.

156Article 44

1571. During the sessions of the National Assembly, no member of the National Assembly shall be arrested or detained without the consent of the National Assembly except in case of flagrante delicto.

1582. In case of apprehension or detention of a member of the National Assembly prior to the opening of a session, such member shall be released during the session upon the request of the National Assembly, except in case of flagrante delicto.

159Article 45

160No member of the National Assembly shall be held responsible outside the National Assembly for opinions officially expressed or votes cast in the Assembly.

161Article 46

1621. Members of the National Assembly shall have the duty to maintain high standards of integrity.

1632. Members of the National Assembly shall give preference to national interests and shall perform their duties in accordance with conscience.

1643. Members of the National Assembly shall not acquire, through abuse of their positions, rights and interests in property or positions, or assist other persons to acquire the same, by means of contracts with or dispositions by the State, public organizations or industries.

165Article 47

1661. A regular session of the National Assembly shall be convened once every year as prescribed by law, and extraordinary sessions of the National Assembly shall be convened upon the request of the President or one fourth or more of the total members.

1672. The period of regular sessions shall not exceed a hundred days and of extraordinary sessions thirty days.

1683. If the President requests the convening of an extraordinary session, the period of the session and the reasons for the request shall be clearly specified.

169Article 48

170The National Assembly shall elect one Speaker and two Vice-Speakers.

171Article 49

172Except as otherwise provided for in the Constitution or in law, the attendance of a majority of the total members, and the concurrent vote of a majority of the members present, shall be necessary for decisions of the National Assembly. In case of a tie vote, the matter shall be regarded as rejected.

173Article 50

1741. Sessions of the National Assembly shall be open to the public: except that, when it is decided so by a majority of the members present, or when the Speaker deems it necessary to do so for the sake of national security, they may be closed to the public.

1752. The public disclosure of the proceedings of sessions which were not open to the public shall be determined by law.

176Article 51

177Bills and other matters submitted to the National Assembly for deliberation shall not be abandoned on the ground that they were not acted upon during the session in which they were introduced, except in a case where the term of the members of the National Assembly has expired.

178Article 52

179Bills may be introduced by members of the National Assembly or by the Executive.

180Article 53

1811. Each bill passed by the National Assembly shall be sent to the Executive, and the President shall promulgate it within fifteen days.

1822. In case of objection to the bill, the President may, within the period referred to in Paragraph (1), return it to the National Assembly with written explanation of his objection, and request it be reconsidered. The President may do the same during adjournment of the National Assembly.

1833. The President shall not request the National Assembly to reconsider the bill in part, or with proposed amendments.

1844. In case there is a request for reconsideration of a bill, the National Assembly shall reconsider it, and if the National Assembly repasses the bill in the original form with the attendance of more than one half of the total members, and with a concurrent vote of two thirds or more of the members present, it shall become law.

1855. If the President does not promulgate the bill, or does not request the National Assembly to reconsider it within the period referred to in Paragraph (1), it shall become law.

1866. The President shall promulgate without delay the law as finalized under Paragraphs (4) and (5). If the President does not promulgate a law within five days after it has become law under Paragraph (5), or after it has been returned to the Executive under Paragraph (4), the Speaker shall promulgate it.

1877. Except as provided otherwise, a law shall take effect twenty days after the date of promulgation.

188Article 54

1891. The National Assembly shall deliberate and decide upon the national budget bill.

1902. The Executive shall formulate the budget bill for each fiscal year and submit it to the National Assembly within ninety days before the beginning of a fiscal year. The National Assembly shall decide upon it within thirty days before the beginning of the fiscal year.

1913. If the budget bill is not passed by the beginning of the fiscal year, the Executive may, in conformity with the budget of the previous fiscal year, disburse funds for the following purposes until the budget bill is passed by the National Assembly:

192 1.The maintenance and operation of agencies and facilities established by the Constitution or law;

193 2.Execution of the obligatory expenditures as prescribed by law; and

194 3.Continuation of projects previously approved in the budget.

195Article 55

1961. In a case where it is necessary to make continuing disbursements for a period longer than one fiscal year, the Executive shall obtain the approval of the National Assembly for a specified period of time.

1972. A reserve fund shall be approved by the National Assembly in total. The disbursement of the reserve fund shall be approved during the next session of the National Assembly.

198Article 56

199When it is necessary to amend the budget, the Executive may formulate a supplementary revised budget bill and submit it to the National Assembly.

200Article 57

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