On Monday, Feb. 17, U.N. investigators stated that security chiefs for North Korea as well as Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un should face international justice for the systematic torture, starvation and mass killings.
In a letter to Kim Jong-un, investigators stated to him that they would be advising the United Nations that they should refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court. They went on to say that they wanted to ensure any culprits “including possibly yourself” were brought to justice.
North Korea responded by claiming it “categorically and totally” rejected the investigators report. Kim Jong-un described the report as “a product of politicization of human rights on the part of EU and Japan in alliance with the U.S. hostile policy.”
U.N. investigators claim that they told Kim Jong-un’s main ally, China that there was a possibility that they were “aiding and abetting crimes against humanity” by some of their actions. Actions such as forcing migrants and defectors to return to North Korea knowing they would more than likely faced torture and execution.
Chairman of the independent Commission of Inquiry, Michael Kirby spoke with Reuters and stated that the investigative team catalogued crime similar to the Nazis in the 372 page report. “Some of them are strikingly similar.”
Kirby went on to say, “Testimony 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.”
In the report, investigators listed numerous atrocities including murder, rape, abductions, enslavement, starvation and executions. It said, “The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.”
One of the defectors who shared their story with the U.N. investigators was Shin Dong-hyuk. He revealed that as when he was 13 years-old, he told a prison guard at a prison camp where he was a prisoner about his mother and brother’s plan to escape and both of them were executed.
Dong-hyuk wrote about his harrowing times at the prison camp and his escape in his book, “Escape from Camp 14.”
In true fashion, North Korea responded to the findings by the investigators in a letter to Reuters by saying, “We will continue to strongly respond to the end to any attempt of regime change and pressure under the pretext of ‘human rights protection’.”
Ultimately, the team of investigators recommended targeted U.N. sanctions against “civil officials and military commanders” that have been suspected of perpetrating the worst of the crimes. The team was comprised of 12 investigators.
The report alleges that Pyongyang uses food as “a means of control over the population” and “deliberate starvation” is used to punish political as well as ordinary prisoners.
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