UN Human Rights Council: It's Time to Prosecute Kim Jong Un, et al

Posted: Mar 28, 2014 11:50 AM
UN Human Rights Council: It's Time to Prosecute Kim Jong Un, et al

The ruthless policies put in place by the sociopathic Kim dynasty years ago have systemically killed millions. Famine, enslavement, forced abortion and mass executions are par for the course in North Korea, according to a UN special report released last month; on Friday, however, the UN Human Rights Council endorsed the findings, concluding that it’s high time for the perpetrators of these atrocities to be prosecuted:

The UN Human Rights Council sent a clear message on March 28, 2014 that North Korean leaders should be brought to justice through Security Council action.

The Human Rights Council, in a resolution, endorsed the report of its Commission of Inquiry on North Korea, released on March 17, which found that crimes against humanity have been committed for decades under policies established at the highest level of the North Korean government. The council urged the UN General Assembly to formally submit the report to the Security Council. The resolution said that the Security Council should refer North Korea to an international criminal court for possible prosecutions of its leaders, and to consider imposing targeted sanctions against those most responsible for abuses.

How significant is this resolution? The Geneva Director of Human Rights Watch called it a “game changer”:

“The Human Rights Council’s response to the Commission of Inquiry findings is a total game changer for the UN’s relations with North Korea,” said Julie de Rivero, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch. “Now the UN Security Council and the General Assembly need to determine how to bring North Korea’s leaders to justice for their human rights crimes.”

Therein lies the question: How does the UN rein in a regime that has operated independently and with impunity for decades? The newest leader of this dynastic personality cult is not merely forcing men to wear his haircut now; he executed his own uncle last year and is reportedly “more unpredictable, more dangerous, and harder to read” than his predecessor, as one CNN columnist put it. His unbridled pursuit of nuclear weapons at the expense of his own people makes him even more unstable, too. So how, exactly, will the UN prosecute Kim and his inner circle?

For what it’s worth, the resolution passed overwhelmingly, but again, the details of how to depose this tyrant have yet to be released:

The resolution was adopted by 30 votes against 6, with 11 abstentions. The resolution condemned violations in North Korea in the strongest terms and called on the UN to establish a field-based structure to continue monitoring and raising public awareness about the human rights situation in North Korea.

“The Commission of Inquiry has concluded its work and now passed the baton to the larger United Nations system, which needs to continue to fulfil its responsibility to document and expose rights abuses in North Korea,” de Rivero said. “There should be no let-up in international pressure for justice in North Korea to ensure that victims’ suffering will never be forgotten.

Agreed. These are important steps, I suppose. But I also suspect it will take a lot more than resolutions and sanctions to prosecute a despot as cruel as Kim Jong Un.