Sewol Bill Still Pending as Victims’ Families Head to the Streets
A strong pressure is being exerted on South Korean National Assembly to adopt a special bill which is aimed at determining the cause behind the Sewol ferry tragedy that killed around 300 people in April, predominantly high school students.
The pressure is further fuelled by the protest of hundreds of people who, as reported by Yonhap, joined families of Sewol ferry victims in a protest rally Saturday, demanding an early passage of the bill.
Around 2,000 people are estimated to had gathered in Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul as a sign of support of victims’ family members, urging for the passage of the bill. Some of them are even on hunger strikes.
The bill should create an ad hoc investigative committee with the right to investigate and indict those accountable for the Sewol’s sinking.
Two deals have been made by the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), however, their solutions failed to meet the families’ expectations.
The National Assembly meets today and it remains to be seen whether the two parties will be able to find some middle ground on this issue.
Court proceedings before Gwangju District Court are underway and as hearings take their pace the blame seems to be shifting constantly.
In the most recent hearing, the captain of the sunken ferry accused the ship’s operator for the tragedy saying it was standard practice to overload the vessel and overlook safety checks, AFP news agency writes.
According to Lee Joon-Seok, 69, it was nothing unusual for the management’s decision to the ferry.
The captain, 14 crew of the ferry and Kim Han-Sik, the president of the ship’s operator Chonghaejin Marine Co, together with 11 other executives of the company are all facing charges that range from negligence, corruption to homicide.