SOFA Under Review After Spate of Crimes by U.S. Soldiers

Seoul and Washington on Wednesday agreed to seek improvements to the Status of Forces Agreement following a spate of crimes by American service personnel here.

Kim Hyung-jin, the director-general of the Foreign Ministry's North American Affairs Bureau, and Jeffrey Remington, the deputy commander of the USFK, discussed the matter at the 189th session of the joint SOFA committee at the ministry building, a government official said.

"Under the current SOFA, prosecutors must indict U.S. military suspects within 24 hours even after they are handed over to us," the official said. "This restricts investigating agencies from seeking their custody" because they know they do not have enough time to conduct a proper investigation.

"The prevailing view is that it's irrational to indict suspects in violent crimes within 24 hours after they are taken into custody," he added. "It took as many as 12 days for prosecutors to indict the U.S. military rape suspect" in a recent case, he added. "We need to readjust the indictment period, and the USFK agrees to some extent."

englishnews@chosun.com / Nov. 24, 2011 10:55 KST