Many rumours are now circulating about the legal status of the ITF and we wanted to clarify the situation. It is important to us that our members are well informed and know exactly where we stand.
Where are We?
As you know, our accomplishments are many. We have worked on the Governance and transparency of ITF: new Constitution, new By-laws, new policies concerning administration and development.
Our membership is increasing. We are investing time and effort in improving services to members. Our concentrated energy is put on improving and promoting the ART of Taekwon-Do.
Year 2005 should be another great year for ITF Taekwon-Do. We will continue to focus our attention on providing you with more and better services as well as on developing ITF Taekwon-Do to its full potential.
Trial Court Decision in Vienna
Some of you are concerned with the Trial Court decision of last December concerning the building owed by ITF in Vienna.
In December, we wrote to the Presidents of all National Associations and Associate National Associations, the ITF Taekwon-Do leaders across the world, to brief them on this judgement and the fact that it was not going to have any bearing on the activities and services to our members. This also permitted our leaders to answer and explain how it did not affect the governance of ITF.
Here is an extract of the communiqué sent in December:
"The judgement announced earlier this
month was in response to our request for an eviction order to force the
North Koreans who are occupying the ITF headquarters in Vienna to leave
the building. The judge did not grant our request.
According to our lawyer Mag. Werner Suppan, our case is strong, but the judge seems not to have considered all the evidence we presented to establish the continuity from our Founder General Choi to Mr. Russell McLellan who became Acting President when General Choi died, to my election – in complete respect with the ITF Constitution – at the Congress Meeting in Warsaw (Poland) in June 2003. In contrast, the judge did not seem to realize that the naming of Mr. Chang Ung to the presidency at the so-called "Extraordinary Congress" in Pyongyang (North Korea) was not in conformity with the ITF Constitution.
In fact, in a letter dated October 10th 2002, addressed to Mr. McLellan, Mr. Chang Ung and ITF members, Master Leong Wai Meng, a supporter of Mr. Chang Ung, described what happened in Pyongyang: "I insisted that I had to inform the ITF members present that they were breaking the ITF Constitution by that Congress and I explained to them ITF Constitution Article 10." In spite of his intervention, "there wasn’t a vote conducted to elect Mr. Chang Ung to the position of President" as required by the Constitution.
(A copy of this letter and other documents related to the legal status are available on our ITF Web site, section Information/Documents)."
We have appealed this decision on January 2nd. There are many points mentioned in the judgement that can be disproved. ITF will not fall on this judgement. ITF had asked the District Court of Vienna to order the group of North Koreans under Chang Ung out of the ITF building. We did not succeed. Like any other judicial matters of this sort, it may take a long time to resolve.
However, I would point out that this is a national registration of the ITF name and logo in Austria only – not an international registration. Therefore, it has no effect on the legal status of the National Associations or Allied National Associations in other countries.
In order to avoid further problems with the legal registration of the ITF, the members of the Board of Directors have agreed to seek the incorporation of the ITF as a non-profit organization in a country where the ITF name and logo are already registered and where we would also have stronger legal protection. As Mr. Jean-Marc Demers, a lawyer with almost 40 years of experience in law and regulation who also chairs the ITF Communications Committee, wrote recently, "Let’s start by registering our organization in a country with strong corporation laws, trademark laws, and strong corporate governance direction."
We are in the process of registering the ITF in such a country, one that offers the necessary protections, and we will be making an announcement soon.
The future of ITF Taekwon-Do is not to be confounded with the future of the ITF building in Vienna. Yes, it is ITF property and, as owner, we would like to be able to use it. But ITF Taekwon-Do is a martial art with a new governance, dedicated to servicing its members. There is no reason to be intimidated by Mr. Chang Ung and his supporters, nor their propaganda.
We will be making every effort to regain the legal registration of the ITF name and logo in Austria and we are confident that justice will eventually prevail.
Extraordinary Congress of ITF
On January 19th, on behalf of the ITF Board of Directors, I have called an Extraordinary Congress meeting of our leaders to consult on our future actions. This Congress will be held in Terracina, Italy on April 24th, 2005. The ITF Board of Directors seeks Congress consultation and direction at this point in time.
The ITF Board of Directors is taking the necessary steps to deal effectively with the above legal issues. Be assured, however, that it will continue to focus its attention on providing more and better services to its members and on increasing the membership of ITF as it has so successfully done in 2004.
The trial court decision in Vienna is being used by Mr. Chang Ung and his followers to make up prophecies of doom and try to sow doubts among ITF practitioners. We consider such actions to be counterproductive in the development of ITF Taekwon-Do. Like General Choi, our founder, we must face our opposition with indomitable spirit, remembering that integrity and perseverance always pay off.
It is essential that all of us keep a positive attitude and continue working together for the great future of the ITF and the benefit of society. We have received many letters of support from around the globe and we would like to thank our members for their faith in the real purpose of ITF Taekwon-Do.
Best regards to all of you.
Master Trân Trieu Quân
Master Trân Trieu Quân
Black Belt 8th Degree
917 MGR Grandin, suite 304
Ste-Foy (Qc) Canada
Tel.: (418) 871-8280 ext. 203
Fax: (418) 871-5574
www.tkd-itf.org or www.itf-generalchoi.com