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North Korea's Crimes Against Humanity
On Monday, Feb. 17, the United Nations issued a scathing report against the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-Un for a litany of crimes against humanity, including exterminating, torturing and starving his own people.
In a letter to Kim, the U.N. advised both he and his regime that they were being referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure any culprits, “including possibly you,” were held accountable.
“The report lists atrocities including murder, torture, rape, abduction, enslavement, starvation, forced abortion and executions, as well as ‘the inhuman act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.’”
The report read: “The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.”
Commission chair Michael Kirby, formerly an Australian High Court justice, wrote Kim warning him he could personally face justice.
“Any official of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea who commits, orders, solicits or aids and abets crimes against humanity incurs criminal responsibility by international law and must be held accountable under that law.”
The Commission of Inquiry on North Korea was set up in 2013 by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council “and heard unprecedented public testimony by defectors at hearings held in South Korea, Japan, Britain and the United States.
“Separately, Kirby told Reuters the crimes his team had catalogued in a 372-page report were reminiscent of those committed by the Nazis in World War II. ‘Some of them are strikingly similar,’ he said.
“ ‘Testimony [by defectors] was given...in relation to the political prison camps of large numbers of people who were malnourished, who were effectively starved to death and then had to be disposed of in pots, burned and then buried... It was the duty of other prisoners in the camps to dispose of them.’”
The ICC report said that “If [detainees] are not executed immediately, persons held accountable for major political wrongs are forcibly disappeared to political prison camps that officially do not exist. Most victims are incarcerated for life... The limited information that seeps out from the secret camps also creates a specter of fear among the general population...creating a powerful deterrent against any future challenges to the political system.”
The North Korean state, as reported by the above four noted media outlets, “used food as a means of control and military spending, including the country’s controversial nuclear program, had been prioritized even during famine, the report continued.”:
“The commission finds that decisions, actions and omissions by the state and its leadership caused the death of at least hundreds of thousands of people and inflicted permanent physical and psychological injuries on those who survived. Hunger and malnutrition continue to be widespread. Deaths from starvation continue to be reported.”
Investigators were not able to confirm reported allegations of “gruesome medical testing of biological and chemical weapons” on disabled people and political prisoners but said they wanted to investigate further.
Kirby said the world could no longer plead ignorance as an excuse for failing to stop rights abuses in North Korea.
“At the end of the Second World War, so many people said; ‘If only we had known...’ Now the international community does know.”
Source: France 24 with AFP, Reuters and AP.
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