U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems: South Korea

NCJ Number
Date Published
13 pages
This overview of South Korea's criminal justice system encompasses political and legal systems, the nature and extent of crime, victims, law enforcement, the prosecutorial and judicial process, the judicial system, and extradition and treaties.

South Korea has a tripartite system of government consisting of administration, legislature, and judicature. The criminal justice system is based on inquisitorial and adversarial systems. Criminal law distinguishes between serious and less serious offenses and between violent and property crimes. The age of criminal responsibility is 14 years. Crime statistics for 1993 indicate the murder rate was 1.4 per 100,000 population, the rape rate was 12.5 per 100,000, and the theft rate was 176.6 per 100,000. In 1993, approximately 6,800 drug offenders were arrested. In 1992, the daily average prison population totaled 55,159. Young males tend to be most victimized by crime. South Korea has victim assistance programs, and the victim plays a role in prosecution. The police organization consists of the National Police Headquarters, special task police agencies, provincial police headquarters, police stations, and police branch offices. Police officers are authorized to use force, stop and apprehend suspects, conduct searches and seizures, and elicit confessions. The prosecutorial and judicial process is concerned with rights of the accused and procedures for bringing suspects to trial. The judicial system includes the Supreme Court, the High Court, district courts, and family courts. Although South Korea only has extradition treaties with Australia and the Philippines, prisoners may be extradited to other countries when a mutual guarantee is secured. 7 references