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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs