South Korea's National Assembly passed bills to establish a law on alternative military service and amend the Military Service Act to that effect at its plenary session on Friday, allowing conscientious objectors to avoid criminalization.
According to the proposed law, conscientious objectors can fulfill the obligatory military service via 36 months of alternative service at correctional facilities.
At present, all able-bodied Korean men are required to serve in the Army for 21 months, the Navy for 23 months or the Air Force for 24 months.
In June last year, the Constitutional Court upheld the criminalization of conscientious objection but ordered an amendment of the conscription law by the end of this year to allow alternative service at penitentiaries. In December, the defense ministry announced a revised bill, under which those who refuse the country's obligatory military service on religious grounds will carry out alternative duty for 36 months at correctional facilities.
Parliament also passed a bill to enact a special law to investigate the exact causes of earthquakes that smashed the southeastern city of Pohang in November 2017 and February last year and compensate their victims. The country's second-most destructive
2017 temblor left dozens of people injured and more than 2,000 homes damaged.
Other bills carried included a bill to revise the Criminal Procedure Code for a new clause that stipulates there must be an urgent reason for having failed to secure a search warrant in advance, in the event that a suspect's residence was searched for the execution of his or her arrest writ.
The bills were targets of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party's filibuster as part of its struggles to block ruling party-led electoral and prosecution reform bills.
The LKP withdrew the obstructive action against the passed bills the previous day. (Yonhap)