Answers concerning ex President Park’s detention
MH Group and international counsel who submitted the application concerning President Park Geun-hye’s detention to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (on 15 August 2017) and the report to the UN Human Rights Council (on 18 October 2017) provide the following information on the steps taken:
MH Group is an established international consultancy that has undertaken human rights work around world. In this case, it has been instructed by supporters and close associates of ex President Park, who are concerned about the protection of her human rights and well being in prison, to bring legal actions at the internationallevel before the United Nations and other international bodies. These parties are perfectly entitled to do so under the UN’s procedures. MH Group has instructed international counsel who are experts in international human rights law, led by Rodney Dixon QC, to make the necessary legal applications to the UN.
MH Group has no access to Ms Park in detention in Seoul. MH Group and the international lawyers are not involved in the national trial proceedings in any way; we are focused solely on raising the human rights concerns of Ms Park’s continued detention before international bodies that are mandated to consider these matters.
Our primary submission is that she should be treated humanely and fairly, and be released from custody while her trial continues, especially in order to receive medical treatment. We are not seeking to get involved in the wider political issues in any way. This is a purely legal initiative at the international level under international law to respect the rights that all citizens of South Korea, and indeed the international community, would wish to have applied to them if prosecuted and detained.
Conditions of Detention
As to Ms Park’s conditions of detention and her health, our submissions to the UN are based on the available public information and reports. We have no access to any official documents from the prison and national authorities. We are urging the authorities of South Korea to investigate these matters and cooperate with the UN’s proceedings, including by granting the UN access to Ms Park. We are working through the proper UN channels in seeking to enforce Ms Park’s human rights and ensure that her health does not deteriorate any further.
We are asking that Ms Park is examined by an independent doctor without delay. This is the very least that the national authorities should allow. Then the facts can be fully verified. If the authorities deny any violations, then they should be prepared to deal with this matter openly. We seek a constructive solution and not a dispute.
Under international law standards, which South Korea is obliged to uphold, our submission is that the continued detention of Ms Park is not justified and she should be provisionally released with any necessary conditions that could be imposed. Detention should be the exception and only ordered if absolutely required.
In the present case, there is no proper lawful basis to continue to imprison Ms Park during her trial as the claims that she may be a flight risk and may destroy evidence are unsubstantiated. In any event, she could be released with conditions were any genuinely necessary. We are emphasising that as an elderly and ailing woman she should be released immediately, which will ensure that she can receive proper medical care. Although there is no specific date when a decision will be handed down, the UN Working Group is dealing with this matter urgently.