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The petitioner, the respondent or other relevant parties will be requested to attend a hearing to listen to the statements, submit a statement, or submit relevant materials. Furthermore, depending on the case, on-site inspection or evaluation may be conducted on the place, facility, and materials that are related to the investigation.
If the parties involved refuse, obstruct, or avoid on-site investigation or actual inspection without any justifiable reason, or if they do not cooperate when requests for a statement, relevant materials, attendance, or factual interrogation are made, and if they do not cooperate with the Commission’s investigation, or if they submit false materials, the offender may be punished by a fine not exceeding 10 million won.
After investigating the complaint, the National Human Rights Commission may recommend to the respondent, the relevant entity, or the head of the supervisory institution the following actions: 1) discontinuing human rights violations subject to the investigation; 2) compensatory payment of damages and other necessary rescue measures; 3) measures for the prevention of the same or similar human rights violations; and 4) rectification or improvement of regulations, systems, policies, and practices.
The Commission may also request, if necessary, the Korea Legal Aid Corporation or other similar entity to render legal aid to the victims. Moreover, if the Commission determines that the petition involves a criminal act, it may file an accusation with the Prosecutor General.
An inmate or detainee of a correctional facility has the legal right to make a petition. When filing a complaint to the Commission, a public official or a staff member of the facility should immediately provide the inmate or the detainee with the time, venue, and conveniences necessary for the preparation of the petition. The freedom to prepare and submit such petitions by inmates or detainees is a right guaranteed by the National Human Rights Commission Act. Any person who does not approve or interferes with the filing of the petition shall be punished by imprisonment of not more than three years, or by fine not exceeding 10 million won.
Even while the registered petition is still being deliberated, the Commission
may, either ex officio or upon request by the victim or petitioner,
recommend the following actions to the respondent or the head of any related
entity, after confirming that a violation of human rights (subject to the
investigation) is in progress, and that it is likely to cause irreparable damage
if no countermeasures are taken:
- Provision of medical services, meals or clothing;
- Participation in on-site inspection and evaluation of any relevant venue, facility, materials, or any verification and evaluation conducted by other entities;
- Change of detention or accommodation places of inmates or detainees;
- Cessation of acts that violate human rights;
- Displacement of any public official who was deemed to have inflicted violations of human rights from his/her present position; and
- Other necessary measures for the protection and safety of the life or the body of the victim
Moreover, the Commission itself, when it deems necessary, may take action for the protection of the life, body and reputation of the subject/s, obtain evidence, or prevent the destruction of evidence. Or, the Commission may also recommend the relevant people and the head of the relevant institution to take such actions. Anybody who interferes with such actions as taken by the Commission shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine not exceeding 5 million won, as stipulated by the National Human Rights Commission Act.
A complaint made through a personal interview is one that has the commissioner, or another representative of the Commission, personally visit a detention or custody facility in order to register a complaint made by an inmate or detainee. Any inmate or detainee who wishes to make a complaint via a personal interview should make this known to a correctional staff member, who in turn, must immediately notify such intention to the Commission. The Commission, after confirming the request for such complaint, should visit the facility and register the complaint as soon as possible.
Not everyone can make a complaint through an interview carried out in person. This privilege is limited to those who have been detained or are in detention center or protection facilities. This system allows the detainees or inmates to make their petition since they cannot otherwise perform this task (i.e. submitting a complaint in person) by themselves.
As a rule, documents submitted with a filed complaint can not be returned. If, however, the petitioner withdraws the petition and requests for the return of the documents or materials that were filed, the Commission should comply with the request accordingly.
In order to withdraw a complaint, one should submit a petition that sets forth the reason for the withdrawal. In case the preparation of a withdrawal is not feasible, a staff member of the Commission may handle the matter by withdrawing the complaint on behalf of the petitioner and having it validated by getting the signature or seal of the petitioner.
This can be done by filing the documents, which need to be amended or added, with the Commission. The filing may be done by mail, fax, or e-mail. The sender should include the registration number and his/her contact information so that the Commission may confirm the sender of such documents.