27 Fordham Int'l L.J. 1289 (2003-2004)
The Constitution of North Korea: Its Changes and Implications

handle is hein.journals/frdint27 and id is 1307 raw text is: THE CONSTITUTION OF NORTH KOREA:
Dae-Kyu Yoon*
More often than not, a Constitution of a State acts as a
prism that affords one an understanding of that State as a whole.
This is possible since a State's Constitution is a manifestation of
the State itself, and provides the fundamental principles of su-
preme law for State management. For the most part, this is also
true of socialist countries, despite the different implications that
law in socialist societies, governed by proletarian dictatorships,
serve a different role than in pluralist, democratic societies
which are governed by the rule of law. A Constitution derived
under socialist governance still reflects, to some extent, the real-
ity of the State and thus is still one of the best ways to understand
its government's management of society and its responses to
changes in its internal and external environments.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or
North Korea) is no exception. Though a departure from
mainstream socialist States, a glimpse of North Korea's Constitu-
tion can still provide observers with an understanding of how
North Korea has undergone and responded to social changes
and vicissitudes. Hence, this Essay sets out to do a number of
things. First, this study succinctly examines the nature and status
of law in North Korea. Second, it reviews the country's constitu-
tional history in sequence, and then, provides a more in depth
look into the characteristics of the current Constitution. Con-
clusions are then drawn from this examination. The goal of this
Essay is not to describe the principles or contents of North Ko-
rean Constitutions per se, but rather to look at how North Korea
has responded to change from a constitutional perspective.
However, our discussion will be mostly limited to the texts of the
constitutions since there is no case known to outsiders that
would afford us an understanding of its real operation in daily
life. At the same time, constitutional processes including the
* Professor of Law and Vice-Director of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies, Ky-
ungnam University. Ph.D. and LL.M. in Law, University of Washington School of Law;
B.A. in Law, Seoul National University.


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