In a landmark ruling that could pave the way for similar ones in the future, a court in South Korea has ordered the government to pay a survivor of a massacre during the Vietnam War. The court awarded Nguyen Thi Thanh, 62, about $24,000, reports the New York Times. She was 7 years old when South Korean marines raided her village and killed five of her relatives, including her mother and two siblings, her lawsuit alleged. She was shot in the stomach, per NPR, and a brother also survived with serious injuries. The South Korean marines allegedly killed 70 unarmed civilians in the Phong Nhi and Phong Nhut villages in central Vietnam on Feb. 12, 1968.
While stories of massacres by South Korean troops have long been in circulation in Vietnam, this is the first time a court has found the government responsible for one. "I am so happy to hear the news," Nguyen said upon hearing the verdict. "I think the souls of the victims stood by me during the trial." More than 300,000 South Korean troops fought in the Vietnam War, the largest contingent sent by any US ally, notes NPR. The government said it wasn't clear that South Korean troops committed the day's massacre, but the court rejected that argument, per the AP. (Read more South Korea stories.)