Talking about unspeakable Nazi-like horrors in North Korea, a U.N. panel warned that 30-year-old North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could be charged with crimes against humanity in the Hague-based International Criminal Court. Citing eyewitness reports of systematic executions, torture, rape and mass starvation, a three-member panel intends to refer the matter to the U.N. Security Council. Despite atrocities committed by Kim and his late father Kim Jong-il, China and Russia are likely to veto any attempt to charge the maniacal dictator in the ICC. North Korea reacted harshly to the panel’s report, attributing the findings to “a product of politicization of human rights on the part of the EU and Japan in alliance with the U.S. hostile policy.” Even if China and Russia agreed that Kim should be charged in the ICC, there’s little anyone can do short of war to end the atrocious abuses.
Boasting a 1.2 million-man land army, spending a whopping 15% of its $12.4 billion Gross Domestic Product on defense, there’s little comparison to Serbia, where former President Bill Clinton got Congress to authorize U.S.-led NATO air strikes in 1999 to topple Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic eventually surrendered to Serbian authorities March 31, 2001, transferring June 28, 2001 to the Hague for prosecution. He died of a heart ailment in custody at the Hague March 11, 2006. U.N. officials would like to see the same fate for Kim Jong-un but face impossible hurdles on the U.N. Security Council with veto-wielding members Russia and China opposed to ICC prosecution. Conducted by the Geneva-based U.N.’s 47-nation Human Rights Council, the probe revealed Nazi-like atrocities going on in Kim’s North Korea. China and Russia reject the ICC.
Citing eyewitness reports, the special U.N. panel concluded that inside the world’s most secretive regime, hundreds-of-thousands of North Koreans have been killed with forced starvation. Prisoners are routinely beaten, starved, tortured and vaporized inside North Korean gulags. “We find we should establish constructive dialogue to solve the disputes over the human rights issues based on equal footing and mutual respect,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, rejecting any referral to the ICC. Speaking of North Korean atrocities, U.N. commission chairman retired Australian Judge Michael Kirby warned of turning a blind eye to Kim’s crimes against humanity. Kirby warned Kim that referral to the ICC “to render accountable all those including possibly yourself, who may be responsible for crimes against humanity,” was needed to stop the abuses.
Kirby’s plea to the international community, stopping Kim’s crimes against humanity, fall on deaf ears in the Security Council. Whether liked or not, the global business community is hopelessly dependent on cheap Chinese manufacturing and Russian oil and gas exports. Neither Chinese President Xi Jingping nor Russian President Vladimir Putin has any intent of referring Kim to the ICC. While there are many human rights abuses in Russia and China, neither support referrals to the Hague. U.S. officials also resist signing onto the ICC because Washington doesn’t want to face prosecution for unpopular U.S. foreign policies, like foreign wars or the CIA’s controversial predator drone program. Noting that panel’s findings aren’t enforceable, former Obama and Bush defense policy advisor Barry Pavel, sees referring Kim to the ICC as unrealistic.
Conceding that the panel’s report “is not enforceable unless the international community to go after” Pavel would like Kim prosecuted like Serbian strongman Slobodan Miloseviv. China and Russia only reluctantly went along with the U.S.-lend NATO bombing campaign that toppled Milosevic in 1999. North Korea’s 1.2 million man army, ballistic missiles and crude nuclear bombs make intervention a risky proposition. Facing nearly daily threats and cross-border attacks, South Korean has much to lose and little to gain by attacking North Korea. Sharing the demilitarized zone above the 38th parallel since July 27, 1953, the prosperous South fears aggression from the impoverished North. When the late Kim Jong-Ill ordered the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan destroyer in the Yellow Sea killing 46 South Korean sailors March 26, 2010, the South Korean government did nothing to retaliate.
Playing bully on the Korean Peninsula, Kim learned well from his father that he can murder his own people and others, like South Koreans, with impunity. Whatever revelations come from the U.N.’s recent report, there’s little that can be done without cooperation on the Security Council from Russia and China. Since the end of the Russia and China-backed Korean War, the U.S.-backed South has become one of the globe’s most prosperous countries, enjoying 15th place in World Nominal GDP rankings at $1.129 trillion. Displaying abysmal failure of the Stalinist system, North Korea ranks 119th in Nominal GDP at $14,411 billion. “China will be more a part of the problem than a solution in addressing North Korea’s violations of human rights and its longstanding violations of international law,” said Bruce Klinger, former head of CIA’s Korea branch from 1990-2000.
About the Author
John M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in national and global news. He’s editor of OnlineColumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma.