Korean Police to Keep Custody of U.S. Military Suspects

Korean police will be able to conduct an initial investigation in all criminal cases involving U.S. military personnel in the future before handing them over to the U.S. Forces Korea.

Currently U.S. servicemen here are immediately handed over to the U.S. side at the request of the USFK when they are charged with crimes, except in murder and rape cases.

The National Police Agency said Sunday that it has come up with new guidelines for handling USFK personnel suspected of crimes in line with agreed recommendations between Seoul and Washington in May that aimed to improve the Status of Forces Agreement.

The new guidelines stipulate that the Korean police can reject requests from U.S. military police to hand over USFK personnel suspected of any crimes until its own investigation is complete.

Korea in turn pledged to conduct investigations promptly and guarantee suspects' right to have a U.S. government representative or a lawyer present during interrogation.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 10, 2012 12:22 KST