August 10, 2004 13:41
The recent spate of violent crimes in Korea has also raised the need for more systematic ways to fight crime.
One proposal calls for the establishment of a DNA databank, to keep tabs on the genetic profiles of criminal suspects.
However, some human rights advocates are raising ethical and social concerns about this profiling method.
Yoo Young-chul, who recently confessed to killing 21 people, had previously been found guilty on 14 different counts of sexual assault.
Experts find there's more than a 50 percent chance that former convicts will be convicted a second time for sexual assault.
In the United States a combined DNA index system is used as a tool for fighting violent crimes.
The forensic index contains DNA profiles that are gathered from crime scenes and stored for analysis. But in the case of Yoo Young-chul, the police didn't have his DNA profile since there was no national DNA databank in Korea.
But things are taking a different turn now. "We're considering setting up a DNA databank after consulting the National Scientific, Criminal and Investigation Laboratory."
Some civic groups oppose this move arguing that it could infringe upon human rights by increasing the potential for genetic discrimination.
"DNA can provide insight into many intimate aspects of a person and their families including susceptibility to particular diseases and sexual orientation."
Women's rights advocates are backing up the government's plan of establishing a national DNA databank saying it could effectively reduce the number of victims of sexual offenses.
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