Public Interest Law in General
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The Acquittalof Prosecution Regarding the Violation of Assembly and Demonstration Act (PressConference Held in front of Cheongwoon Hyojadong Community Service Center) 2013.11.18 21:11 5175
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The front of Cheongwoon Hyojadong Community Service Center is frequently utilized as a place for press conferences because it is not only geographically adjacent to Cheongwadae, the Korean Presidential residence, but is also a place where outdoor assembly and demonstration are permitted. For your guidance, outdoor assemblies and demonstrations heldanywhere within a 100-meter radius from the boundary of the National Assemblybuilding, all levels of courts, the Presidential residence, etc. are prohibitedunder Article 11 of the Assembly and Demonstration Act (hereinafter “AD Act”).However, press conferences held in front of the Community Service Center of CheongwoonHyojadong have been categorized as undeclared assemblies even though the placeis endorsed for outdoor assemblies and demonstrations.

The Supreme Court construed Article 20(1)(2)of the AD Act that the dispersion of assemblies can be ordered in case theoutdoor assemblies or demonstrations posed direct and apparent risks to others’legal interests or the public order. Yet, to our consternation, the court ruledthat the case of press conference in front of the Community Service Center,which is the target for the judgment, did show a direct and apparent risk to thepublic order. (The Supreme Court, Decision 2010Do6388 Decided in April 19,2012)


Hereupon, GongGam participated as the counselfor the case where 3 activists from the organization called ‘Making theWorld without Non-regular Workers’ were prosecuted for holding a press conference in front of the CommunityService Center of Cheongwoon Hyojadong in violation of the AD Act. Eventually,they were found not guilty.


Charges were made on 21 March 2012 when theorganization hosted “the press conference for urging Cheongwadae (“Blue House”)to solve layoff and temporary position problems.” After the press conference,the participants tried to submit a collective civil petition directly toCheongwadae but confronted with the police when they were stopped by the policeline. These acts led to the grounds for the prosecution since the undeclaredassembly disobeyed to the order of dispersion. In relation to this case, the firstinstance court reached the participants of the assembly the guilty verdict with the reasoning of an important factor that outdoor assemblies within 100m from Cheongwadae are prohibited without exception and the entrance of the Community Service Center, which was the venue for the assembly and demonstration, was not far from the Blue House.

Nevertheless, the Seoul High Court, as thecourt of appeals, pronounced not guilty considering the fact that the CommunityService Center is a permitted place for outdoor assemblies and that it is hardto recognize that the assembly of this case imposed a direct and clear risk toothers’ legal interests and the public order.


We hope that the judgment of this case willpractically guarantee the freedom of assembly and become a good referenceparticularly for the citizens and activists who hold press conferences in frontof the concerned Community Service Center.


Jiyoung Yoon

Attorney at GongGam

 Translated by Jung Hwa Lee

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