UN recommends North Korean be brought to International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity
Monday, February 17, 2014 - 02:11
Feb. 17 - The UN issued a damning report cataloguing crimes against humanity in North Korea which they said should be brought to the International Criminal Court. Mana Rabiee reports.
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STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT
As North Koreans celebrated the birthday of their late leader on Sunday, the United Nations was getting ready to release a scathing report on the reclusive country.
It released on Monday a detailed account of North Korea's human rights violations.
The report, nearly 400 pages long, lists atrocities including murder, torture, rape, enslavement, executions and starvation.
Crimes against humanity that the UN said borders on genocide.
Michael Kirby headed the commission behind the report.
He compared the crimes to those committed by the Nazis.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIRMAN OF THE UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON NORTH KOREA MICHAEL KIRBY, SAYING:
"Testimony was given to the commission of inquiry in relation to the prison camps, the political prison camps, of large numbers of people who were malnourished, who were effectively starved to death, who then had to be disposed of in pots burned and then buried in such a way that their body parts were still unburned, and it was the duty of other prisoners in the camps to dispose of them."
Timed with the release of the report, human rights group Amnesty International released interviews with North Korean defectors who had been imprisoned.
Their descriptions of life in the camps are similar to accounts depicted in this art work from a 2011 exhibit in Seoul, South Korea.
(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) FORMER MILITARY CAPTAIN, JOO-IL KIM, SAYING:
"The first bullet hits the head strap, and the brain and blood splatters. People scream in horror at this sight."
(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) FORMER PRISONER, JIHYUM PARK, SAYING:
"Pregnant women get sent to labor camps to carry loads up and down the hills which cause miscarriages."
(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) FORMER PRISONER, KIM YOUNG SOON, WHO SPENT NINE YEARS IN YODOK PRSION CAMP, SAYING:
"When my parents starved to death, I didn't have coffins for them. I wrapped their bodies with straw carried them on my back and went to bury them myself. And the children…I lost all my family."
(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) FORMER PRISONER, KIM YOUNG SOON, WHO SPENT 9 YEARS IN YODOK PRISON CAMP, SAYING:
"It is a place that would make your hair stand on end. No words would help you to understand what this place is like."
The report recommends the atrocities in the North be brought the International Criminal Court.
It said Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un himself should face justice for ordering these crimes.
Pyongyang on Monday categorically denied such abuses take place, saying the UN's report was an effort at regime change under the guise of human rights concerns.
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