—There are significant variations with regard to the
use of the death penalty. The paper attempts to identify both
environmental and the state elite’s interest explanations for the
capital punishment policy development by examining two cases
of capital punishment in Kyrgyzstan and South Korea. In
Kyrgyzstan, geopolitical situation created through influence of
the EU and power struggles after the collapse of the Soviet
Union has affected the state elite’s decision making of death
penalty policy. Induced by a new geopolitical situation,
Kyrgyzstan state leaders adopted the abolition of the death
penalty to increase political and financial powers. In South
Korea, separation with North Korea, and the Clinton
administration’s engagement policy toward North Korea in the
early 1990s catalyzed President DJ Kim to meet the needs of
radical groups in South Korea. The state elite’s interest to
maintain political power led to the adoption of death penalty
moratorium. This comparative study shows that various
geopolitical environments result in different capital punishment
policy outcomes by influencing the state elite’s interests.
—Death penalty, geopolitics, human rights
policy, intervening variable.
Aejung Kim is with the Kent State University, USA (e-mail: akim4@
Cite: Aejung Kim, " Human Rights Policy: The Cases of Capital Punishment in
Kyrgyzstan and South Korea," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 362-367, 2015.