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FRAMEWORK ACT ON MILITARY STATUS AND SERVICE

Act No. 13631, Dec. 29, 2015

Amended by Act No. 14609, Mar. 21, 2017

CHAPTER I General Provisions
 Article 1 (Purpose)
The purposes of this Act are to guarantee fundamental rights of soldiers, whose mission is to defend the State and protect nationals, and to contribute to fostering an advanced and powerful elite military force by prescribing basic matters regarding soldiers’ duties and their barrack life.
 Article 2 (Definitions)
The definitions of the terms used in this Act shall be as follows:
1. The term “soldier” means officers, warrant officers, noncommissioned officers, and enlisted personnel in active service;
2. The term “commander” means the head of a unit of at least company size, the head of a vessel unit, or a person commanding a vessel or an aircraft;
3. The term “superior” means the supreme commander of the armed forces and a person’s direct superior who has a right to command his/her subordinate in a command-obedience relationship;
4. The term “order” means a work order issued by a person’s superior;
5. The term “military life” means soldiers’ barrack life, duties, educational training, and all other activities being carried out surrounding their military camp;
6. The term “barrack life” means the daily activities of soldiers who have a duty to live in a barrack, surrounding the soldiers’ living quarters.
 Article 3 (Scope of Application)
This Act shall apply to soldiers and to each of the following persons as if they are soldiers:
1. Cadets, officer candidates, warrant officer candidates, and noncommissioned officer candidates;
2. Reservists and replacements called up for military service;
3. Civilian military employees.
 Article 4 (Responsibilities of the State)
(1) The State shall prepare a system to guarantee the fundamental rights of soldiers and shall actively promote policies necessary therefor.
(2) To ensure that soldiers can conscientiously perform their duties and take greater pride in their military service, the State shall endeavor to improve their work conditions and enhance their quality of life.
 Article 5 (Code of Conduct of the State Armed Forces)
(1) The armed forces of the State shall share its beliefs of defending the State as its army, protecting a liberal democracy, and contributing to the unification of the South and the North of Korea.
(2) The missions of the armed forces of the State are protecting the freedom and independence of the Republic of Korea, defending its territory, protecting people’s lives and property and further contributing to maintaining world peace.
(3) Soldiers shall respect their honor and strictly adhere to strong loyalty, true courage, strong faith in ultimate victory, a spirit of knowing no retreat in battlefield, and lofty devotion to the State and people to fulfill their responsibilities at the risk of their lives.
 Article 6 (Relationship with Other Statutes)
Where enacting or amending other statutes concerning military service of soldiers, such enactment or amendment shall be in line with the purposes and underlying spirit of this Act.
CHAPTER II Framework Policy on Military Service, Etc.
 Article 7 (Framework Policy on Military Service)
(1) The Minister of National Defense shall, every five years, formulate a framework policy on military service (hereinafter referred to as “Framework Policy”).
(2) Each Framework Policy shall include the following:
1. Basic objectives;
2. Annual and task-by-task promotional plan;
3. Matters concerning securing funding.
4. Any other important matters concerning soldiers’ military service.
(3) Each Framework Policy shall be finalized after deliberation thereon by the deliberative committee under Article 8.
(4) The Minister of National Defense shall, pursuant to the Framework Policy, establish and implement its implementation plan.
(5) Matters necessary for formulating Framework Policies and implementation plans under paragraph (4) shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 8 (Establishment of the Deliberative Committee on Military Service Policy)
A deliberative committee on military service policy (hereinafter referred to as “Committee”) shall be established within an organization belonging to the Minister of National Defense to deliberate on the following:
1. Guarantees of soldiers’ fundamental rights;
2. Soldiers’ duties;
3. Establishment of the Framework Policy;
4. Improvement of the statutes and subordinate decrees and the systems concerning military services;
5. Other matters concerning military services referred, by the chairperson, to the Committee’s deliberation.
 Article 9 (Organization, Etc. of the Committee)
(1) The Committee shall be comprised of twelve commissioners including one chairperson.
(2) The Minister of National Defense shall be the chairperson and the following persons shall be members of the Committee:
1. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chiefs of Staff of each armed force, and the Commander of the Marine Corps;
2. Three persons commissioned by the Minister of National Defense from among the persons recommended by the competent standing committee of the National Assembly;
3. Three persons commissioned by the Minister of National Defense from among the persons who have extensive professional knowledge and experience with guarantee, etc. of soldiers’ fundamental rights.
(3) The term of the members commissioned pursuant to paragraph (2) 2 and 3 shall be two years, and it may be extended one time only.
(4) Other matters necessary for operating the Committee shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
CHAPTER III Fundamental Rights of Soldiers
 Article 10 (Fundamental Rights of Soldiers and Restriction Thereof)
(1) As a national of the Republic of Korea, soldiers shall have constitutional rights equal to other Koreans.
(2) The rights under paragraph (1) may be restricted to the extent necessary for assuming military duties in accordance with the soldiers’ duties as prescribed in relevant statutes.
 Article 11 (Principle of Equal Treatment)
In applying this Act, soldiers shall be treated equally without being discriminated.
 Article 12 (Prohibition of Standing-By in the Barracks)
(1) No commander shall make a soldier, who has no duty to reside within a barrack, to remain on standby within a barrack during any time he/she is off-duty: Provided, That this shall not apply in any of the following cases:
1. Wartime, crisis or in an equivalent national emergency;
2. In operational situations such as infiltration and local provocation, etc.;
3. Where it is necessary to heighten military alertness;
4. In a natural disaster or other calamities;
5. Where a military unit, to which the soldier belongs, is conducting educational training, evaluation, or censorship.
(2) A detailed standard authorizing the stand-by in a barrack pursuant to the proviso to paragraph (1) and other matters necessary therefor shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 13 (Freedom and Privacy of Personal Life)
The State shall ensure maximum guarantee of soldiers’ privacy and freedom in their private lives within the barrack.
 Article 14 (Protection of Communications Privacy)
(1) No soldier’s rights to the secrecy of verbal and written communications shall be violated.
(2) No soldier shall disclose, by mail or otherwise, any matters such as the military unit organization, relocation, deployment, etc. related to carrying out military operations or major military responsibilities or the matters concerning the military personnel in major offices, in breach of military security.
 Article 15 (Protection of Religious Life)
(1) A commander shall guarantee soldiers’ right to engage in religious observance to the extent of not adversely affecting the relevant military unit in the performance of their duties.
(2) A soldier, who is obliged to reside within a barrack, may participate in any religious ritual conducted at a religious facility or other place designated by his/her commander (hereinafter referred to as “religious facility, etc.”), and where he/she intends to participate in a religious ritual outside of such religious facilities, etc., he/she shall obtain his/her commander’s permission therefor.
 Article 16 (Public Announcement and Activities)
When a soldier intends to externally disclose any matters concerning national defense or military service or engage in external activities representing the army or as his/her status as a soldier, he/she shall obtain permission from the Minister of National Defense: Provided, That this shall not apply where the soldier personally engages in external activities in a pure academic pursuit, cultural activity, physical training, etc.
 Article 17 (Right to Medical Care)
A soldier has a right to appropriate and effective medical care to maintain his/her health and treat any illness or injury sustained during his/her military service.
 Article 18 (Guarantee of Leave, Etc.)
(1) As prescribed by Presidential Decree, a soldier shall be guaranteed leave of absence and leave to go, or sleep, out of the barracks.
(2) Where falling under any of the following subparagraphs, a commander may restrict or withhold a soldier’s leave of absence, leave to go, or sleep, out of the barracks:
1. Wartime, crisis or in an equivalent national emergency;
2. In operational situations such as infiltration and local provocation, etc.;
3. In a natural disaster or other calamities;
4. Where a military unit, to which the soldier belongs, is conducting its educational training, evaluation or censorship;
5. Where the soldier is a criminal suspect or defendant or is subject to deliberation on disciplinary measures;
6. Where it is inappropriate for the soldier to take leave as a patient;
7. Where it is necessary to maintain armed forces in the unit to prepare for a combat or to perform the unit’s missions.
CHAPTER IV Duty of Soldiers, Etc.
 Article 19 (Oath)
When a soldier enlists or is commissioned as an officer, he/she shall take an oath as prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 20 (Duty of Loyalty)
A soldier shall assume the duty to ensure national safety and defend the nation’s territory, which are missions of the State Armed Forces, and protect people’s life/body and property, and be loyal to the State and the nation’s people.
 Article 21 (Duty of Faithfulness)
A soldier shall conscientiously perform his/her duties, without avoiding the risks and responsibilities associated with assuming such duties.
 Article 22 (Duty of Honesty)
A soldier shall be honest when he/she issues or conveys an order, or make a report or notification.
 Article 23 (Duty of Integrity)
(1) No soldier shall directly or indirectly give or receive any reward/gift or favor in connection with his/her duties.
(2) No soldiers shall give any gift to their direct superior nor receive any gift from any of his/her subordinate, regardless of whether it is work-related or not.
 Article 24 (Duty of Command Originator)
(1) No soldier shall issue any order, which is unrelated to his/her duties, contradicts any relevant laws, rules, or his/her superior’s command or beyond his/her authority.
(2) Each order shall be issued via the chain of command: Provided, That, if inevitable, an order may be issued other than via the chain of command. In such cases, the issuer and receiver of such order shall without delay notify it to the mid-level commander in the chain of command.
(3) All orders shall be issued swiftly and accurately.
(4) A soldier shall be responsible for the consequences of each command he/she issues.
 Article 25 (Duty to Obey Orders)
Each soldier shall obey his/her superior’s orders concerning all work for which he/she assumes a work responsibility.
 Article 26 (Ban on Private Sanctions and Abuse of Authority)
In no event shall a soldier impose any private sanction, such as beating, verbal abuse, harsh treatment or bullying, or abuse his/her power.
 Article 27 (Restriction of Disorder of Military Discipline, Etc.)
(1) No soldier shall engage in any of the following conducts:
1. Committing sexual harassment, molestation, or violence;
2. Slandering superiors/subordinates or colleagues, or spreading any groundless rumor;
3. Intentionally interfering in or unfairly influencing proposal of opinions or grievance settlement, etc.;
4. Other conduct disrupting military discipline.
(2) Detailed standards concerning conducts prohibited under paragraph (1) shall be prescribed by Ordinance of the Ministry of National Defense.
 Article 28 (Duty of Confidentiality)
(1) A soldier shall, during and after his/her military service, strictly keep confidential any and all military secrets acquired by him/her in the course of his/her military service.
(2) A soldier shall not use any confidential information acquired in the course of his/her military service, for the purposes other than for performing his/her duties.
 Article 29 (Ban on Desertion of Duty)
A soldier shall not desert his/her duty without permission from his/her superior or without any other legitimate reason.
 Article 30 (Ban on Profit-Seeking and Holding Multiple Positions)
(1) A soldier shall not engage in any for-profit activity, other than military service, and shall not concurrently engage in other activity without permission from the Minister of National Defense.
(2) Matters concerning the scope, etc. of for-profit activities under paragraph (1) shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 31 (Ban on Collective Action)
(1) No soldier shall engage in any of the following collective actions:
1. Organizing a labor union, engaging in collective bargaining or collective action;
2. Forming an association or engaging in collective action in order to influence military service;
3. Collectively protesting against his/her superior;
4. Collectively disobeying, or violating, a legitimate order;
5. Collectively petitioning or signing for grievances relating to military service.
(2) Where a soldier intends to become a member of a social group, he/she shall obtain permission from the Minister of National Defense: Provided, That this shall not apply to any group with such purposes as a pure academic pursuit, cultural activity, physical training, friendship, or religion or any such group as is prescribed by Presidential Decree.
(3) Where the Minister of National Defense deems that the purpose or activity of a group under the proviso to paragraph (2) contradicts or impedes any soldiers’ duties, he/she may restrict a soldier’s membership therein or order a soldier to withdraw from such group.
 Article 32 (Ban on Possession/Distribution, Etc. of Rebellious Products)
A solder shall not produce, duplicate, have in his/her possession, transport, disseminate or acquire any seditious printed material, book, drawing or other seditious product, and shall promptly report to his/her superior or investigative authority, etc. upon acquiring such product.
 Article 33 (Ban on Political Campaign)
(1) No soldier shall be involved in forming any political party or other political association.
(2) A soldier shall not engage in any of the following conducts in order to support or oppose, in an election, a particular political party or figure:
1. Encouraging or discouraging voting;
2. Attempting/leading or recommending signature-gathering efforts;
3. Posting or causing to be posted any document or book at a public place, etc.;
4. Making or causing to be made any donation, or using or causing to be used any public fund;
5. Recommending others to join or not join any political party or other political association.
(3) A soldier shall not request any other soldiers to engage in any political activity in violation of paragraphs (1) or (2), nor promise any benefit or disadvantage as a reward for or retaliation against such political activity.
 Article 34 (Duty to Comply with Martial Laws)
(1) A soldier shall comply with, among all international laws concerning armed conflicts, treaties to which the Republic of Korea is a party and the generally accepted international laws (hereinafter referred to as “martial law”).
(2) A soldier shall be well-acquainted with the martial laws, and the Minister of National Defense shall provide soldiers with an educational training concerning the martial laws as prescribed by Presidential Decree.
CHAPTER V Barrack Life
 Article 35 (Relationship Among Soldiers)
(1) A soldier shall respect his/her colleagues’ personality, honor, rights and shall protect his/her colleagues, out of comradeship, from difficulties and dangers.
(2) A soldier shall respect and be considerate of the values cherished by his/her colleagues.
(3) Soldiers shall not issue any order, instruction, etc. among themselves, unless a soldier is given work-related authority.
 Article 36 (Responsibilities of Superior)
(1) A superior shall set an example for his/her subordinates not only in the performance of his/her duties but also in conducting him/herself outside or beyond his duties.
(2) Concerning a work responsibility, a superior shall direct and supervise his/her subordinates.
(3) A superior shall respect and be considerate of his/her subordinates’ personality.
(4) No superior shall issue any order unrelated to his/her work responsibility, in breach of any laws or his/her superior’s order, or beyond his/her authority.
 Article 37 (Respect for Multiple Cultures)
(1) A soldier shall respect multi-cultural values.
(2) The Minister of National Defense shall educate soldiers to enhance their respect and understanding of multi-cultural values.
 Article 38 (Training on Fundamental Rights, Etc.)
(1) The Minister of National Defense shall, as prescribed by Presidential Decree, conduct periodic training on soldiers’ fundamental rights and duties guaranteed in the Constitution of the Republic of Korea and this Act, and on the relief procedure, etc. for infringement of a soldier’s fundamental right (hereinafter referred to as “fundamental right training”).
(2) Each of the following persons shall mandatorily complete fundamental right training, as prescribed by Presidential Decree:
1. A person expected to be appointed as a commander or person-in-charge of a battalion or higher military unit or of an organization equivalent to a battalion or higher military unit;
2. A person under subparagraph 1 of Article 3 of this Act.
CHAPTER VI Relief for Infringement of Soldiers’ Rights
 Article 39 (Proposal of Opinion)
(1) Where a soldier has propositions beneficial to the armed forces or legitimate opinions concerning soldiers’ military service, such as ideas for improving military-related systems, he/she may solely propose such opinions to his/her superior officer, based on the chain of command.
(2) A soldier shall not be given any disadvantageous disposition or treatment for the reason that he/she proposed such opinions as prescribed in paragraph (1).
(3) A superior officer in receipt of a soldier’s preposition pursuant to paragraph (1) shall review them and notify the result of his/her review to the proposer within 14 days in writing, verbally or by other means.
 Article 40 (Grievance Settlement)
(1) A soldier may request a committee for examination of grievances of military personnel to review the grievances concerning working conditions, personnel management, personal problem, etc.
(2) A soldier shall not be given any disadvantageous disposition or treatment for the reason of his/her request for a grievance review pursuant to paragraph (1).
(3) To examine the grievances for which a petition is filed pursuant to paragraph (1), a committee for examination of the grievances of military personnel shall be established in the Ministry of National Defense, the headquarters of each Armed Force and in the military unit, which is under the command of general-level officers. <Amended by Act No. 14609, Mar. 21, 2017>
(4) Where a petitioner has an objection to any of the results of an examination, he/she may file an application for re-examination with the following committees: <Amended by Act No. 14609, Mar. 21, 2017>
1. Officers, warrant officers, noncommissioned officers: The Central Committee for Examination of Petitions on Military Personnel Management as prescribed in Article 51 of the Military Personnel Management Act;
2. Enlisted personnel: A committee for examination of the grievances of military personnel, which is established within the military unit commanded by the general-level officers superior by two tiers to the enlisted personnel.
(5) Matters necessary for staffing and operating the committee for examination of the grievances of military personnel and for examination procedures of the committee shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 41 (Professional Counselor)
(1) A counselor specialized in military life shall be assigned to each military unit or agency of not less than the size prescribed by Presidential Decree in order to provide counseling on distresses or difficulties of military life where a military personnel member complains of any distress or difficulty in his/her military life due to any of the following matters:
1. Maladjustment to military life;
2. Family relationships and personal affairs;
3. Violations of fundamental rights in the military, such as beating, verbal abuse, harsh treatment, and bullying;
4. Physical conditions, such as a disease, illness or deterioration in health;
5. Social welfare, such as the education of children and maladjustment to local life of by family members of long-term service military personnel;
6. Other matters concerning the distresses or difficulties associated with military life.
(2) A counselor specialized in soldiers’ sexual distress shall be assigned to each military unit or agency of not less than the size prescribed by Presidential Decree in order to provide soldiers with exclusive counseling on sexual harrassment, sexual violence, sexual discrimination and other sex-related distresses.
(3) The counselor specialized in military life issues under paragraph (1) and the counselor specialized in soldiers’ sexual distress under paragraph (2) (hereinafter collectively referred to as “special counselor”) shall provide counseling to any military personnel experiencing difficulties arising from their military service or personal affairs, etc. and may request the head of a military unit or agency to which he/she is assigned to take necessary measures.
(4) The Minister of National Defense shall appoint the special counselor from among the following persons:
1. Those who have a certificate related to psychological counseling or social welfare prescribed by Presidential Decree and are experienced in counseling for at least a specified period;
2. Those qualified as prescribed by Presidential Decree and have served in the military for at least a specified period.
(5) Matters concerning specific qualification criteria, procedures for employment, status, duties and management of the special counselor shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 42 (Officer for Protection of Soldier’s Human Rights)
(1) In order to guarantee soldiers’ fundamental rights and make relief against infringement of such rights, an officer for protection of soldier’s human rights shall be assigned.
(2) The organization, duty and operation, etc. of the officer for protection of soldier’s human rights under paragraph (1) shall be separately provided for by a statute.
 Article 43 (Duty to Report, Etc.)
(1) Where a soldier becomes aware of any private sanction committed by other soldiers such as beating, verbal abuse, harsh treatment, bullying or any sexual molestation or sexual violence during his/her barrack life, he/she shall promptly report it to his/her superior or notify it to the officer for protection of soldier’s human rights under Article 42 (1) or a military investigative agency, etc.
(2) With respect to the matters concerning paragraph (1), a soldier may separately file his/her petition with the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, etc. in accordance with the methods prescribed by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea Act, the Act on the Prevention of Corruption and the Establishment and Management of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission or other statutes.
 Article 44 (Protection of Informant’s Identity)
No person who is aware of another person who has filed a report or petition, etc. (hereinafter referred to as “notification, etc.”) under Article 43 (hereinafter referred to as “informant”) shall inform, disclose or report the informant’s personal information or any facts implying the informant’s identity to any third person: Provided, That this shall not apply when the informant consents thereto.
 Article 45 (Protection of Informant)
(1) No person shall give any job-related disadvantage, such as disciplinary measure, or discriminative treatment in working conditions (hereinafter referred to as “disadvantageous action”) to any informant by reason of the informant’s notification, etc.
(2) The Minister of National Defense shall keep confidential all information on informants and notifications, etc. and ensure that no informant is subject to any disadvantageous action due to the informant’s notification, etc.
(3) Where an informant is subject to a disadvantageous action due to his/her notification, etc., the Minister of National Defense shall take measures necessary to rectify the situation or restore the original state.
CHAPTER VII Special Duty, Etc.
 Article 46 (Extraordinary Military Services)
(1) To protect personnel and property, maintain discipline and security, prevent various accidents within a military unit and to prepare for an emergency, each military unit shall implement a watch-keeping service, a guard service and other extraordinary military services in barracks.
(2) The extraordinary military services shall be fairly assigned in accordance with soldiers’ ranks and positions.
(3) Matters necessary for classification and implementation, etc. of the extraordinary military services shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 47 (Emergency Call for Duty, Etc.)
(1) Where an emergency call prescribed by Presidential Decree is made, soldiers shall without delay gather in the military unit to which they belong.
(2) Where necessary to promptly take action against a war, crisis or an equivalent national emergency, a general-level commander may restrict regional movement of the soldiers under his/her command in their leave of absence and leave to go, or sleep, out of the barracks, etc. as prescribed by Presidential Decree. <Amended by Act No. 14609, Mar. 21, 2017>
 Article 48 (Sentry’s Use of Weaponry, Etc.)
(1) Only in the following cases, a sentry may use a weapon carried by him/her (referring to the rifle, sword or other equipments carried by a sentry to perform his/her duties; hereinafter the same shall apply) to the minimum extent necessary:
1. When he/she has no other means but to use his/her weapon, due to urgent circumstances, to protect the life, body or property of the personnel within the area of his/her responsibility;
2. When a person keeps silent, absconds or approaches a sentry despite the challenge called by the sentry in accordance with the challenge and reply method prescribed by the Minister of National Defense;
3. When the circumstance is sufficiently urgent to justify a sentry’s use of his/her weapon because he/she is, or is likely to be, attacked.
(2) A sentry shall not give any weapon or ammunition he/she carries to any other person, without any order or instruction by his/her superior who is within the chain of command.
CHAPTER VIII Supplemental and Penalty Provisions
 Article 49 (Delegation of Authority)
Some of the authority of the Minister of National Defense provided for in this Act may be delegated to the Chiefs of Staff of each armed force as prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 50 (Provisions on Military Service)
Matters concerning soldiers’ military service that are not provided for in this Act shall be separately prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 51 (Legal Fiction as Public Official in Application of Penalty Provisions)
Among members of the Committee, a member who is not a public officer shall be deemed a public officer in applying Articles 129 through 132 of the Criminal Act.
 Article 52 (Penalty Provisions)
(1) A person who, in violation of Article 44, has informed, disclosed or reported any of an informant’s personal information or any facts implying the informant’s identity to any third person shall be subject to maximum three years of imprisonment with labor or a fine not exceeding thirty million won.
(2) A person who, in violation of Article 39 (2) or 40 (2), has given a soldier any disadvantageous disposition or treatment by the reason of the soldier’s proposal of opinion or request for a grievance review shall be subject to maximum one year of imprisonment with labor or a fine not exceeding ten million won.
ADDENDA
Article 1 (Enforcement Date)
This Act shall enter into force six months after the date of its promulgation.
Article 2 (Transitional Measures concerning Leave)
The leaves granted to a soldier under Article 46 of the former Military Personnel Management Act, as at the time this Act enters into force, shall be deemed granted under Article 18 of this Act.
Article 3 (Transitional Measures concerning the Committee for Examination on Grievances of Military Personnel)
(1) The Committee for Examination on Grievances of Military Personnel established pursuant to the former Military Personnel Management Act, as at the time this Act enters into force, shall be deemed the Committee for Examination on Grievances of Military Personnel under this Act.
(2) The grievances filed for examination pursuant to Article 51-3 of the former Military Personnel Management Act, as at the time this Act enters into force, shall be deemed filed for examination pursuant to Article 40 of this Act.
Article 4 Omitted.
ADDENDA <Act No. 14609, Mar. 21, 2017>
Article 1 (Enforcement Date)
This Act shall enter into force three months after the date of its promulgation. (Proviso Omitted.)
Articles 2 and 3 Omitted.