The chief investigator from the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Thursday appealed to the UN Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official websites] for alleged crimes against humanity. The call to act came as a result of February’s report [JURIST report] in which the Commission detailed North Korea’s human rights violations, which include murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, the enforced disappearance of people and knowingly causing starvation. The inquiry conducted by the UN concluded that North Korean security chiefs and possibly even Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un should be prosecuted for these crimes. Because North Korea has not joined the international institution, the ICC can only conduct an investigation if the situation is first referred by the UN Security Council. This will likely be made difficult by China, a veto-wielding Security Council member, who already formally dismissed [Reuters reports] the UN’s allegations, citing a lack of evidence.
The UN has sought to investigate and counter alleged human rights abuses in North Korea in the past. The UN Human Rights Council [official website] in March adopted a resolution [JURIST report] urging the UN Security Council to take action against those responsible for documented crimes against humanity in North Korea. In February UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay stated that there can no longer be any excuses for inaction [JURIST report] in North Korea following the release of the UN report. In September the UN Human Rights Commission reported widespread human rights abuses [JURIST report] occurring in the country. Last February Special Rapporteur Marzuki Darusman and a group of independent human rights experts announced their support for an international inquiry [JURIST report] into human rights violations in North Korea to bring awareness to the country’s system of political prison camps. Also last February Darusman urged the UNHRC and the General Assembly to investigate human rights violations [JURIST report] in North Korea.