A South Korean court has dismissed a lawsuit by a group of women who suffered under Japan’s military brothel system during World War II.
The Seoul Central District Court has ruled that sovereign immunity be applied, which under international law keeps a state immune from another country’s court jurisdiction.
This following a different judgment by the same court in January which ruled that the Japanese government compensate 12 women in a similar suit as there was “intentional, systematic and wide-ranging criminal acts against humanity.”
The ruling on Wednesday was delivered by a different bench.
“Though the agreement was just a political one, it was not struck between individuals but nations. We cannot deny the fact that a remedial measure was prepared for the victims, including the ones involved in this case,” the court said referring to a 2015 deal between both countries to set up a foundation for the victims.
The 92-year-old Lee Yong Soo, one of the 20 plaintiffs, rejected the latest ruling and said that she would take the case to the International Court of Justice.
Japan has maintained that claims of South Korea under its colonial rule were already settled in finality under the 1965 bilateral agreement which provided financial compensation to the victims.