UN panel says North Korea, Kim Jong Un should be held accountable for crimes against humanity

By Daniel S Levine,

A United Nations panel issued a stern warning to North Korea and the world, suggesting that leaders of the isolated country should be held accountable for torture and other crimes against humanity in international court.

In March 2013, the UN Human Rights Council began a Commission of Inquiry on North Korea, which just released its report on Monday. The Telegraph reports that the investigation discovered violations on such a large scale without “any parallel in the contemporary world.”

The commission suggested that the Security Council hold the country’s leaders, including Kim Jong Un, accountable in the International Criminal Court.

“Systemic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, its institutions and officials,” the report read. The crimes against humanity “are not mere excesses of the State; they are essential components of a political system that has moved far from the ideals on which it claims to be founded.”

According to Reuters, the report was instantly criticized by Pyongyang as “a product of politicization of human rights on the part of EU and Japan in alliance with the U.S. hostile policy.”

While these are the strongest words against North Korea to come out of the UN, it is unlikely anything can be done about it. China, North Korea’s most important ally, is on the Security Council and is unlikely to approve of the commission’s suggestions.

“Unfortunately, the UN cannot do very much,” Shin Dong-hyuk, who remains the only person to escape a North Korean prison, told the Telegraph last month. “The horrible state that is North Korea does not take the UN seriously and history shows us that the organisation has not been able to do one thing to halt the problem in North Korea.”

image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons



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