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Independent report finds evidence of genocide in North Korea
A new independent legal opinion commissioned by human rights group Human Liberty (www.humanliberty.org) suggests that the current situation in North Korea
may amount to genocide. The report recommends further action by the
United Nations (UN) Security Council and the implementation of
additional, targeted sanctions. It also explains how the International
Criminal Court (ICC) might open its own investigation into human rights
abuses without UN Security Council referral.
94-page opinion, produced by independent international law firm Hogan
Lovells, otherwise validates and endorses the findings of the recent
Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea (DPRK). Specifically it corroborates the methodology
used by the Commission and reinforces its conclusions that the North
Korean government has committed, and continues to commit, severe human
rights violations and crimes against humanity.
report states, "The COI has brought to light in a comprehensive and
transparent manner the numerous human rights concerns to the DPRK to
which the international community must now react. We are in full support
of a reference by the UN Security Council to the International Criminal
Court (ICC). We also recommend that the Office of the Prosecutor of the
ICC (OTP) consider exercising its jurisdiction to investigate the
crimes committed by the DPRK in relation to abductions and/or the
treatment of DPRK citizens working abroad."
the opinion differs from the COI in its argument for a strong case that
the crimes against humanity committed by the North Korean government
are tantamount to genocide, and recommends further UN sanctions against
the political leadership in Pyongyang.
consider that there may be good arguments that the targeting by DPRK
state-controlled officials of groups classified by the DPRK as being in
the hostile class, Christians, and children of Chinese heritage with the
intent to destroy such groups could be found to amount to genocide,"
the report states. It also recommends further investigation of the
possibility genocide to include, "collecting as much testimony as
possible from victims, refugees and defectors and ensuring that such
testimony is collected to a court evidence standard." It may also be
possible for the ICC to exercise its jurisdiction without a UN Security
Council referral, according to Hogan Lovells, because the treatment of
North Korean workers who are forced to work abroad in countries who are
signatories to the 2002 Rome Statute of the ICC, as well as the
abductions of individuals from those countries, may constitute further
crimes against humanity. This would mean either the host country could
request an investigation by the ICC or the OTP could initiate its own
The opinion considers the existing UN sanctions against North Korea
and suggests a widening by the international community that "prohibits
trade with and financial assistance to the DPRK for any purpose other
than humanitarian or developmental purposes." Such a measure could be
designed to avoid unintended consequences and take account of the COI's
recommendation that sanctions not be targeted against the population or
the economy as a whole.
on the COI and this independent legal opinion, we believe the North
Korean government is guilty of widespread and horrific abuses against
its own people. This cannot be allowed to stand by the international
community if it is to avoid repeating the failures of history in Nazi Germany, Serbia, Rwanda and Cambodia.
Isolated, unpopular and murderous regimes are susceptible to the
pressures of the international community and we firmly believe that
change is possible.
Human Liberty is
an international non-profit movement dedicated to protecting
fundamental human rights by promoting the freedoms enshrined in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations, 1948).