“Article 5.2 of the National Human Rights Commission Act (the Act) states that the President of the Republic shall appoint four (4) persons nominated by the National Assembly (two of whom serve full-time), the President of the Republic shall nominate four (4) persons (one of whom serves full-time) and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court should nominate three (3) persons. According to Article 3 of the NHRCK Rules on Affairs, the vacancies are published on the NHRCK’s website. However, the NHRCK Rules on Affairs are silent on a single consistent formalized selection process used by the three appointing institutions.

The NHRCK reports that in practice, the President receives recommendations from a Candidate Recommendation Committee, the National Assembly receives recommendations from political parties and the Supreme Court receives recommendations from civil society organizations and the Korean Bar Association. The SCA acknowledges that the NHRCK has submitted amendments to its Act to formalize the establishment of the Candidate Recommendation Committee.

The SCA encourages the NHRCK to advocate for the inclusion in its Act or other administrative guidelines, the establishment of a single independent selection committee.

It is critically important to ensure the formalization of a clear, transparent, and participatory selection and appointment process for an NHRI’s decision-making body in relevant legislation, regulations or binding administrative guidelines, as appropriate. A process that promotes merit-based selection and ensures pluralism is necessary to ensure the independence of, and public confidence in, the senior leadership of an NHRI.”