News / Asia

    UN Urges Probe Into 'Atrocious' N. Korean Crimes

    UN Commission Accuses North Korea of Crimes Against Humanityi
    X
    February 18, 2014 12:31 AM
    A United Nations commission says North Korean officials - and possibly even North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - should be tried for crimes against humanity. A report released Monday by the U.N.’s Commission of Inquiry on North Korea compared many of the abuses to crimes committed by the Nazis during World War II. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
    Watch related video by VOA's Jeff Seldin
    Daniel Schearf
    A new United Nations report accuses North Korea of  “unspeakable atrocities," many of which amount to crimes against humanity. 

    The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea is calling for an international tribunal to investigate the alleged crimes and to bring those most responsible to justice. 

    The chair of the three-member commission said Monday that the panel gathered abundant evidence from more than 80 witnesses and satellite images. Many of the witnesses were defectors who survived prison camps and escaped across the border and through China.

    “We had testimony, which is quoted in the report, which tells the stories of the prison camps -- of the starvation, of the great famine and of the deployment of inadequate resources … of the babies who are born stunted and who remain stunted … of abductions, of the public executions, and of the fact that many people simply disappear -- they disappear either into the prison camps or into public executions or private and secret executions,” he said.

    Even before details were released Monday on the panel's historic one-year investigation, leaks to the media showed it found gross violations.
     
    They include summary executions, rape, torture, forced abortions and enslavement.
     
    The U.N. report said religious minorities and political dissidents suffer the most, with up to 120,000 living in town-sized prison camps.
     
    Lee Jung-hoon, South Korea's Ambassador for Human Rights, said the U.N. report is the first reliable and legal evidence of atrocities in North Korea.

    He said the report also specifies that North Korea’s crimes can be labeled as genocide, which means the crime can be applied to the leadership of North Korea, including Kim Jong Un.

    There are no exemptions to this crime, Lee said. So, even if the two Koreas are reunified within 5, 10 or 50 years, the leaders of North Korea can still be punished.
     
    North Korea refused to allow U.N. investigators to visit the country and rejected the panel's formation as slander against it. 
     
    Despite the call for prosecution, there is little chance North Korean leaders will face justice.
     
    A U.N. Security Council decision would be needed to send the case to the International Criminal Court, and North Korea's main backer, China, has veto power.
     
    During the investigation, Beijing ignored the U.N. panel's  request to visit its border area with North Korea.
     
    China's Foreign Ministry Monday said submitting the U.N. report to the ICC would not help resolve human rights in North Korea.
     
    However, Lilian Lee, with the Citizens Alliance for North Korean Human Rights, is still optimistic.  She pointed out that the mere existence of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry (COI) was once dismissed as impossible.
     
    "So I don’t think that we can count out any legal mechanism taking place because of one or two specific countries. You know of course it may not happen right away.  And, just like it took many years for the COI to establish itself for North Korea, we can probably assume that it can take many more years for any sort of justice system to take action," Lee said.
     
    The commission sent the report to Pyongyang in January but never received a reply.
     
    The report's findings will officially be presented March 17 to the U.N. Human Rights Council.
     
    The report is being made public as relations between the two Koreas are improving and will come out just days before renewed cross-border family reunions.
     
    Seoul convinced Pyongyang on Friday to resume the reunions despite its joint military drills with the U.S.
     
    Ambassador Lee said the timing of North Korea's concession just ahead of the U.N. report is not likely a coincidence.
     
    Lee said North Korea knows how strong the U.N. panel's recommendation is. In other words, he assesses that North Korea did not change sincerely but is taking a quick strategy to try to avoid criticism by the international community.
     
    The two sides also agreed not to slander each other so Pyongyang will be closely watching Seoul's comments on the U.N. report.
     
    VOA Seoul Bureau Producer Youmi Kim and Lisa Schlein in Geneva contributed to this report.

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: chris from: China
    February 17, 2014 10:44 PM
    the terrible thing happening in North Korea is true. i heard much about it. i hate that country and i feel ashamed of China to be the evil's only backer in the world, where is GOD? just make them pay ....

    by: Jerry Frey from: USA
    February 17, 2014 7:40 PM
    "Why Does China Coddle North Korea?"

    http://napoleonlive.info/see-the-evidence/facts-about-north-korea-2/

    by: LieutenantCharlie from: USA
    February 17, 2014 5:24 PM
    Sounds a lot like Nazi Germany, (and the Axis of Evil Japan and Italy), in 1939.
    Maybe its' time to deal with Fascist North Korea, Islamic Terrorist Iran, and the evil Terrorist Muslim Brotherhood

    by: Jimmy C from: USA
    February 17, 2014 3:47 PM
    Fail...

    Article 1: The Purposes of the United Nations are:
    To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace...;

    by: Jonny from: Perelo
    February 17, 2014 3:34 PM
    I think the point is now none of us can say we weren't aware. In years to come as this becomes history the question will be asked how could we have stood by and done nothing.

    So sad, and equally problematic are the self-righteous people who use this report to either condemn the UN for their own narrow political beliefs or those that fail to understand that somethings are worth fighting for.

    It appears that in 2014 the human race is nothing more than an amalgamation of self centered nihilistic individuals.

    by: Hey look over there from: Corporate States of
    February 17, 2014 3:31 PM
    This UN report smells like a pre-planned distraction. As if we didn't already know that N. Korea was a hell hole.

    by: Goat029324` from: New Jersey
    February 17, 2014 3:31 PM
    Let Dennis Rodman handle it.

    by: Sang Riel from: Canada
    February 17, 2014 3:05 PM
    The Syrians will be so happy that an injustice may be righted. The Tutsis and the Hutus will unite in song and their hearts will soar at the righteousness of it all. The Canadian Aboriginals will cheer from the squalor of the distant reserve. Humanity will cheer... at last they will do nothing , yet again.

    by: ebob2k from: USA
    February 17, 2014 2:59 PM
    Many years ago, the UN took a vote on something similarly serious, and was only able to pass it without veto because the Soviets had walked out. That vote was on, you probably DIDN’T guess. Korea!

    If you want something done NOW, and done the way it should be done, you cannot depend on the UN to do it. They are, it’s sad to say, virtually impotent for every action they handle. (With their track record, I seriously doubt that ANY politician in the free world would want the UN, or anyone like them, as their sole security force.)

    by: Sang Riel from: Ottawa Ontario Canada
    February 17, 2014 2:53 PM
    Should we all feel better now that the UN is involved ? Do the Syrian people feel better now ? Are the Tutsi and the Hutu going to hold hands and sing kumbaya now that the UN is involved ? Give us a break. Go in armed to the teeth and kill anything that moves or shaaaadup
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.