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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid