S. Korea Must Pay Survivor of Vietnam War Massacre

It's the first time a court has made such a ruling about atrocities by the nation's troops in the war
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2023 2:50 PM CST
S. Korea Must Pay Survivor of Vietnam War Massacre
File photo of South Korean members of the military.   (Getty / Im Yeongsik)

In a landmark ruling that could pave the way for similar ones in the future, a court in South Korea has ordered the government to pay a survivor of a massacre during the Vietnam War. The court awarded Nguyen Thi Thanh, 62, about $24,000, reports the New York Times. She was 7 years old when South Korean marines raided her village and killed five of her relatives, including her mother and two siblings, her lawsuit alleged. She was shot in the stomach, per NPR, and a brother also survived with serious injuries. The South Korean marines allegedly killed 70 unarmed civilians in the Phong Nhi and Phong Nhut villages in central Vietnam on Feb. 12, 1968.

While stories of massacres by South Korean troops have long been in circulation in Vietnam, this is the first time a court has found the government responsible for one. "I am so happy to hear the news," Nguyen said upon hearing the verdict. "I think the souls of the victims stood by me during the trial." More than 300,000 South Korean troops fought in the Vietnam War, the largest contingent sent by any US ally, notes NPR. The government said it wasn't clear that South Korean troops committed the day's massacre, but the court rejected that argument, per the AP. (More South Korea stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.