UN envoy urges prosecution of N. Korean leader for human rights violations

March 14, 2016
Marzuki Darusman (Yonhap)

Special rapporteur of the United Nations on North Korean human rights Marzuki Darusman (Yonhap)

GENEVA (Yonhap) — A special rapporteur of the United Nations on North Korean human rights called for the prosecution of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and other ranking officials of the communist state for violating the human rights of North Korean people.

“I would like to reiterate my appeal to the international community to move forward to ensure accountability of the senior leadership of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, including that of Mr. Kim Jong-un,” Marzuki Darusman told the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Darusman’s remarks followed his report published last month, in which the special human rights envoy urged the U.N. Human Rights Council to advise Kim and other senior leaders of the communist North “that they may be investigated.”

Monday’s meeting of the human rights council was boycotted by the North, whose foreign minister said on March 1 that the country will boycott any meeting that examines its human rights records.

The U.N. rapporteur noted the North continues to pour a large amount of resources into developing nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction while “large parts of its population continue to suffer from food insecurity,” adding the North Korean leadership could be tried and prosecuted by the International Criminal Court or in a third country.

Darusman’s report to the human rights council also followed fresh sanctions against the North by the U.N. Security Council for the North’s latest nuclear test and the launch of a satellite that was widely believed to be a disguise for a long-range missile test.

“The denial of human rights to its citizens internally and this aggressive behavior externally are basically two sides of the same coin,” he said.

Lee Jung-hoon, South Korea’s human rights envoy, welcomed the U.N. envoy’s call for the prosecution of the North Korean leadership, saying, “We must ensure accountability for North Korea’s crime against humanity.”

Washington, too, expressed support, saying the international community must seek to identify and investigate those accountable.

China, a close ally of North Korea, took a careful approach, repeating its call for dialogue to establish peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.