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North korea UN finds crimes against humanity

Published: 2/15/14 @ 12:00


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

A U.N. panel has found that crimes against humanity have been committed in North Korea and will call for an international criminal investigation, The Associated Press has learned.

The report, to be released Monday, is the most authoritative account yet of rights violations by North Korean authorities, and it is bound to infuriate the country’s unpredictable leader. But justice remains a distant prospect, not least as North Korea’s ally, China, would be likely to block any referral to the International Criminal Court.

The commission, which conducted a yearlong investigation, has found evidence of an array of crimes, including “extermination,” crimes against humanity against starving populations and a widespread campaign of abductions of individuals in South Korea and Japan.

Its report does not examine in detail individual responsibility for crimes but recommends steps toward accountability. It also could build international pressure on North Korea, whose dire rights record has drawn less censure at the U.N. than its nuclear and missile programs have. North Korea’s hereditary regime has shrugged off years of continuous outside pressure, including tough U.N. and U.S. sanctions directed at its weapons programs.

An outline of the report’s conclusions was provided to the AP by an individual familiar with its contents who was not authorized to divulge the information before its formal release and who spoke on condition of anonymity. A U.S. official, speaking anonymously for the same reason, confirmed the main conclusions.