UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - North Korea on Monday asked the United Nations Security Council to add the issue of torture by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to its agenda and to establish an investigation to ensure those responsible are held to account for human rights abuses.
The request by Pyongyang came as two-thirds of the 15-member council push for the human rights situation in North Korea to be added to the agenda. A U.N. report in February detailed abuses in North Korea that it said were comparable to Nazi-era atrocities.
Once an issue is on the Security Council agenda, it can be discussed by the body at any time.
“The so-called ‘human rights issue’ in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is politically fabricated and, therefore, it is not at all relevant to the regional or international peace and security,” North Korean U.N. Ambassador Ja Song Nam wrote in a letter to the council.
“The issue of CIA torture crimes committed by the United States needs to be urgently addressed in the Security Council since it threatens to have an imminent and destabilizing impact on the maintenance of international peace and security,” he wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Reuters.
A U.S. Senate report released last week found that the CIA misled the White House and public about its torture of detainees after the Sept. 11 attacks and acted more brutally and pervasively than it acknowledged.
North Korea called for the Security Council to establish “an ad-hoc investigation commission mandated to make a thorough probe into the CIA torture crimes and hold those responsible to account for their most serious human rights violations.”
A U.N. committee last month urged the council to consider referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court, alleging crimes against humanity.
China, likely supported by Russia, would probably veto any referral to the international court based in The Hague, diplomats say, but it cannot block having the rights situation added to the council agenda.
China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi said it’s a “bad idea” to add the human rights situation in North Korea to the council’s agenda, while Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said it should be dealt with by the U.N. Human Rights Council.
“If they have the meeting, I won’t be heartbroken over it, but I think it’s improper to do it at the Security Council,” Churkin said on Monday.
Editing by Jonathan Oatis