North Korea calls UN report witnesses ‘human scum’
North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un should be tried at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, a United Nations report found Monday.
Following a yearlong investigation, the UN’s commission of inquiry on human rights in North Korea has documented the most comprehensive and shocking evidence yet of abuses in the secretive Communist state.
“The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world,” found the report, chaired by Australian former judge Michael Kirby, who compared conditions with Nazi Germany.
Hundreds of witnesses provided testimonies revealing “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence,” much of it linked to the notorious labor camps.
The commission included recommendations for accountability, and Kim Jong-un has been informed that he is liable to face charges. In a personal letter to the Supreme Leader, Kirby informs him the evidence will be referred to the ICC “to render accountable all those, including possibly yourself, who may be responsible for the crimes against humanity.”
Human rights groups have welcomed the report.
“It’s a very positive inquiry that shines a spotlight on what has been happening for decades and will hopefully galvanize action from the U.N. Security council,” David Mepham, director of Human Rights Watch UK, told Metro. “We have more detailed evidence than ever before which will increase the pressure and makes it more difficult for other countries, such as China, to align with this totalitarian state, which is among the most brutal in the world.”
The North Korean regime swiftly dismissed the report as a “charade” and the witnesses as “human scum.” The commission was denied access to the country, but say their methodology has a high standard of proof: Reports were cross-referenced for accuracy, and evidence of labor camps is clear from satellite photography.
While the regime may be rattled, there will be defiance, says Chad O’Carroll, editor of the NK News website.
“Based on precedent, the North Koreans will lash out and this could undermine inter-Korean engagement,” said O’Carroll. Moderate steps such as cross-border family reunions scheduled this week are now in doubt.
The report will be presented to the U.N. Security Council next month, where China will have a critical role in determining the fate of its historic ally.