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최종편집 : 2019.11.29 금 15:13
CoverControversial Issues
It Can't Be Better in Solving Crimes: DNA Act
Jang You-chul  |  youchul1213@cau.ac.kr
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승인 2019.11.11  12:11:25
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

Last September, police arrested a suspect in the Hwaseong serial murder case, one of the worst unsolved cases in history. The Hwaseong serial murder case refers to 10 serial murders in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, from 1986 to 1991. The victims were all women, all of whom were murdered after being raped by criminals. The horrific serial killings have terrorized the entire nation. Many police officers were involved in the investigation, but the police failed to catch the criminal because of lack of proper investigative equipment and methods at the time. As a result, the serial killer on Hwaseong seems to be disappearing into the background of history, with the title ‘Unsolved Case’. But last September, the case, which had been mired in a mystery, came into the public spotlight again, as police arrested suspect. It was the first time in 33 years that person with DNA that matches DNA information from a previous Hwaseong serial murder case has appeared. It is the 'DNA Law' that has made the biggest contribution to resolving this unsolved case. However, the DNA law was declared unconstitutional in September 2018 and is being redrawn accordingly. Depending on the ruling, the Act will be discarded if no revision is made by December. 31st in 2019. Accordingly, the proponents, who argue that if DNA is banned altogether in the future, there will be great difficulties in solving crimes, and the opponents, who argue that the DNA law seriously violates human rights are in disputing. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of this DNA law, which is now in conflict.

   
▲ 사진 출처: https://slownews.kr/71165
 
A person's body is made up of more than 60 trillion cells. Each cell has a nucleus and the material inside it is DNA. DNA contains various genetic information that makes up the body, which determines the size of the eyes and the height of the nose. Thus, DNA is contained in everything that comes from the human body and can be detected with only a little trace. It is also the most accurate and effective identification method in existence because it does not change over time, so DNA is now used as a most important evidence in investigating crimes. In 2008, In the wake of ‘Na-young Case’ the rape incident of an eight years old girl, a group of people suggested collecting and systemizing the DNA of violent criminals such as murder, rape and child sexual assault. Accordingly, the so-called DNA law, the Act on Use and Protection of DNA Identification Information, was implemented in 2010. Genetic data collected through the DNA law has helped solving numerous unsolved cases, including the recent serial killings on Hwaseong, and has saved resources in investigation. As such, the DNA law of great public value must be maintained.
          
First, some of the problems with DNA law are solvable. Currently, opponents of the DNA law are protesting the collection of DNA data not only from violent offenders but also from minor offenders. However, this is a problem that can be solved by amending some provisions. According to current DNA law, DNA databases are dualized in accumulation methods. Police and prosecution establish DNA database in the division. In the case of police, they collect DNA only for those who fall under arrest and are relevant 11 specific violent crimes such as murder, rape and arson. In the case of the prosecution, however, it collects the DNA of all criminals in prison. Police have no problem, but many opponents are taking issue with the prosecution, which also collects DNA from minor offenders in prison. If such an overly broad collection standard is restricted to only those who constitute 11 specific violent crimes, just as the police, then it can address the opposition's concerns about human rights violations.
          
Second, the possibility of privacy infringement through the DNA law is virtually low. The Korean DNA law requires DNA to be examined and analyzed only certain parts of the sequence, excluding genetic information. In addition, because the sequence is stored only in combination with a series of numbers and symbols, it is not possible to use this information to trace an individual's genetic information. Moreover, the majority of countries keep DNA samples used for testing, while Korea alone makes it a rule to dispose of them immediately after testing. Therefore, there is no need to worry about leaking genetic information in the DNA collection process. Despite these stabilities of leaking, some people may simply be offended by the fact that their genetic information remains semi-permanent. In response, the DNA law in Korea allows to remove DNA collected from the database if the person is found innocent by a retrial. Also mentioned earlier, good citizens who do not commit crimes are free from DNA law because the Act only targets criminals.
          
Third, through the DNA law, crime can be solved more effectively and efficiently. As we can see from the resolution of the Hwaseong serial murder incident, the DNA law is effective in solving crimes. According to the DNA Identification Information Management Committee, since the DNA law was implemented in 2010, the number of cases that have been solved by using DNA are 5,616, throughout the prosecution and police. It is also very efficient in the process, not just in the result. Even before the DNA law was enacted, it was very difficult to reduce the scope of suspects, and innocent suspects were often harmed. In addition, excessive investigations involving human rights violations were frequently conducted in the process of obtaining confessions from suspects, which was highly controversial. This eventually led to the nation's waste of human and material resources. However, since the DNA law took effect, innocent suspects have been allowed to be excluded early and quickly determine the right suspect. This has allowed to protect human rights of innocent suspects and the right suspect. If the DNA law is abolished for human rights at a time when there is no advanced technology to detect suspects more accurately than DNA, it would rather lead to another human rights violation as in the past and deepen social waste.
 
The abolition of the DNA law is expected to result in too much loss compared to gains. It seems rather unreasonable to give up the possibility of resolving numerous violent crime cases that will occur in the future. If the intent of DNA collection, purpose of extraction, and means of disobedience are defined and limited its scope, then the DNA law could develop into a good act. About one and a half month is remained before the DNA law is determined. Within that period, CAH hopes that both sides of the pros and cons make a reasonable decision to improve existing Act through coordination.

 

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