Updated August. 11, 2014 07:15
The presiding judge for the first trial of court martial over the death of a private first class, identified by his last name Yoon, in the 28th Infantry Division of the Korean Army due to collective beating by his seniors has elevated from a colonel to general level officer.
A source in the military said on Saturday, The presiding judge for the first trial of the General Court Martial is generally taken by a colonel level officer. But by taking into consideration of the gravity of the case and the ranks of officers to be questioned in supplementary and additional investigations, the presiding judge for (this) trial to be conducted at the Third Army Command will be a military general level officer.
Trial over suspects indicted for Yoons death was being initially held at the general court martial at the 28th Infantry Division, where the incident happened, but the jurisdiction over the case has changed to the general court martial at the Third Army Command while the trial is underway, which is unusual. The new tribunal will be comprised of three judges namely a general named by the Third Army Commander, one military judge from the Third Army Command, and a military judge from the 7th Corps. A source in the military said, The Third Army Commander will select the presiding judge based on recommendation by his legal chief of staff, adding, He will select the presiding judge from among his aides who are not responsible for the case to the extent possible to ensure the fairness of the trial.
After receiving a "suggestion" to apply murder charges to key suspects from the prosecutorial department of the Defense Ministry, the prosecutorial department of the Third Army Command will finalize the process to amend the letter of indictment next week. The first hearing after the cases transfer of jurisdiction, which is the fifth trial, will reportedly take place at the end of this month.