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N. Korea Could Face Prosecution For 'Crimes Against Humanity' 325

An anonymous reader writes with this news from The Telegraph: "North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, has been warned that he could face prosecution for crimes against humanity after a United Nations inquiry accused him of some of the worst human rights abuses since the Second World War. In some of the harshest criticism ever unleashed by the international community against the Pyongyang regime, a UN panel branded it 'a shock to the conscience of humanity.' Michael Kirby, a retired Australian judge who has spent nearly a year taking testimony from victims of the regime, said much of it reminded him of atrocities perpetrated by Nazi Germany and Pol Pot's Cambodia. Yesterday his team published a 374-page report detailing allegations of murder, torture, rape, abductions, enslavement, and starvation, describing North Korea as a dictatorship 'that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.' In a bid to put pressure on Kim Jong-un, 31, Mr Kirby has taken the unusual step of writing to the North Korean leader to warn him that both he and hundreds of his henchmen could one day face prosecution." More at the BBC, including a cache of the report.
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N. Korea Could Face Prosecution For 'Crimes Against Humanity'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @11:59AM (#46275991)

    Issue a sternly worded warning.

    That'll teach him.

    • by master_kaos ( 1027308 ) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @12:03PM (#46276037)
      Exactly, what exactly are they going to do? Shake their first harder? Wave their finger in shame longer? I know Dennis Rodman could go down again and sort everything out!
      • Just wait until he finds out that this is going on his permanent record.

        • Just wait until he finds out that this is going on his permanent record.

          In North Korea there ARE no permanent records, unless dear leader *says* the record has been permanent.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Certainly cheaper than marching in there and slapping some cuffs on him (or a noose on his neck)!

      Anyway I'm sure they're bad, but someone else can take the reigns on this one. Team America, World Police needs to retire.

      • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @12:38PM (#46276437) Journal

        I'm sure the thoughts going through the regime's heads is "You and what army."

        So long as China sees fit to shield North Korea, there's precious little to be done, and even if China walked away, this nightmarish regime has at least some nuclear capacity, enough to turn good portions of the peninsula into Armageddon. I'm afraid there is no practical or safe way for external force to be applied, and one only hopes that eventually, somehow, those who live within this hell on Earth find a way to depose the Kims and their underlings.

        • by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @12:50PM (#46276623)
          Well, that's the thing. Kim killed the family member that had the tightest ties with China, so the only reason this letter got out is probably because China said they would go along with it
    • by imikem ( 767509 )

      No way. Since when has a stern warning had such an effect? It will have to be a REALLY stern warning. With multiple exclamation points and everything!! Then and only then will they see the error of their ways and repent.

    • Why, it's almost like isolationists didn't want the UN to have substantial power when they crafted it. And now neo-isolationists use that lack of power to justify ignoring the body.

    • by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @01:36PM (#46277289)

      There is history here. History teaches us that scrutiny and criticism from other nations does, in fact, make an important difference.

      Many Soviet dissidents survived because killing them would have made maintaining the fig leaf of Soviet respectability impossible for the western Left. The Soviets did not wish to be a pariah state; they had to tolerate a degree of dissent and eventually this allowed satellite nations like Poland to develop a genuine resistance.

      N. Korea appears to be directly immune to this sort of pressure, but China isn't. N. Korea needs a cadre of internationally recognized dissidents to destabilize the regime and the only thing that might allow them to survive is international pressure. Could a dissident survive in N. Korea in the near future? Not likely. But international pressure could permit a high profile N. Korean dissident to survive in China and create problems for the Chinese.

      You have to start somewhere. The rest of the planet has be copping out on N. Korea since the 50's. Couldn't hurt to change that. Their farcical nuclear capability not withstanding.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @01:51PM (#46277529)

      North Korea politics in a nutshell:

      The North Koreans brutally maintain their control and constantly threaten massive destruction, test nuclear weapons and fire missiles over Tokyo. They then allow themselves to be "convinced" to back down for food and funds to maintain their grip.

      China finds this useful. They support him because the US and the West are constantly at odds with him (technically never signed a Peace treaty after the armistice). They keep him along and it keeps the West distracted, and gives them a cheap bargaining chip to "bring them back from the brink" in exchange for concessions in other parts of Asia.

      The US finds them annoying. In general we don't like dictatorships and tyrants and in particular are morally opposed to human rights abuses. However, toppling the regime through force has serious implications. Despite being relatively weak, they are heavily armed with fanatical soldiers with around 1 million troops. While their nukes are essentially a joke, their artillery they have constantly aimed at Seoul is not. The damage they would inflict if backed into a corner on the peninsula would have repercussions throughout the entire Pacific economy. In addition, assuming they are toppled, what then? Who takes over? Does Seoul? How does a dynamic, robust, educated, high standard of living economy of 50 million people somehow take over and integrate 24 million uneducated dirt poor people who have been living under a tyrants thumb for so many years? It would take decades to integrate the two, and meanwhile South Korea, the source of around 51% of the world's new shipbuilding and around 1/3 of the world's steel production, would struggle with global ramifications. The cost and difficulty is very high for war.

      North Korea knows this. They constantly bring themselves right up to the line of not being worth it to eliminate, and everyone else gives them concessions to back down from their most recent round of "crazy". It's an odd game they play, but it's worked for them for 30+ years and no one has found a cost effective alternative.

    • by jlowery ( 47102 )

      In today's North Korea, information leaks through. This means that there will be an awareness among the general population of these accusations. True, there will be propaganda countering this, but the seed will be planted.

  • by Premo_Maggot ( 864012 ) * <nessnoop@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @12:03PM (#46276039) Homepage
    We know this has been going on.....why is the UN bothering now and what could they possibly do that they're not doing now?
  • Why now? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Terminaldogma ( 765487 ) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @12:05PM (#46276063) Homepage
    These atrocities have been known for a long time, and there are already several good books on the subject (which hopefully some Slashdotters with more time can link). What I don't understand is why this report came out know? Is there some political timing involved in it coming out now as opposed to a decade ago?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

      Is there some political timing involved in it coming out now as opposed to a decade ago?

      Obviously, since not saying precisely the same shit about China in the same breath is rampant hypocrisy. But China is still buying things, so let's keep endorsing organlegging and slavery.

    • Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick. It not only was constructed from interviews with numerous defectors, it is also very well written. (David Sedaris recommended it recently for both its message and its prose.)

      Seriously, get this book from your local library and read it.

  • Depends on China (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @12:08PM (#46276085)

    North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, has been warned that he could face prosecution for crimes against humanity after a United Nations inquiry accused him of some of the worst human rights abuses since the Second World War.

    Not as long as China protects him he won't. For various reasons I don't entirely understand China has elected to keep this family in power. (I know they want a buffer from South Korea but there has to be more to it than that) They don't even seem concerned about North Korea possessing nuclear weapons.

    If China decides to withdraw support, the North Korean regime will be gone pretty quick most likely. Until then, nothing will happen unless a war starts between North and South Korea.

    • Re:Depends on China (Score:5, Informative)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @12:25PM (#46276283)

      Aren't they still at war?

    • I imagine china will drop the support when they think they can move in and assume control. They dont want a revolution on their border. Stability over all.

    • I don't entirely understand China has elected to keep this family in power

      Because the minute China stop supporting that dictatorship half a dozen country, the first of them being the US of A, go get rid of that family, and a reunited US-friendly Korean is reborn. And China doesn't want another US friendly country near by..

    • I think China's support of NK started out as supporting a political ally: China and NK had vaguely similar political ideas and government. After the Korean War China and NK developed into different countries, and I think China no longer sees NK as a political ally.
      However, they probably still see USA as a potential enemy. And if NK were to collapse and get absorbed into South Korea, there could be US troops right on the Chinese border (there are a number of US troops in South Korea right now). If I were a
    • Re:Depends on China (Score:5, Interesting)

      by j-turkey ( 187775 ) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @12:40PM (#46276459) Homepage

      You nailed it, DPRK is very much dependent on China for support. I don't fully understand why China wants to keep DPRK in power either, but I can shed a bit of light on the issue. You mentioned China's desire for a buffer between their borders and a westernized and America-friendly South Korea, this is a major issue. Another huge issue is that if the North Korean regime fails, China will have millions of refugees crossing its eastern border into areas that are already less stable than they would like. These areas have not developed at a rate consistent with the larger Chinese cities, and millions of Korean refugees would be a huge burden on those areas, threatening the regional stability - which is a hot-button issue for China.

      I can't say that any country is immune from supporting regimes where atrocities exist when it supports their interests...but it doesn't stop me from being frustrated with China for supporting a failed regime like DPRK.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Well, I think the issue with China is that it's a regime that's even more touchy than governments usually are about admitting mistakes. They don't like North Korea's nuclear program, or being associated with North Korean atrocities, but a public admission of a mistake they like even less. It's seen as weak, and weak governments leading to chaos is the number one lesson a student of Chinese history learns. Being Pyongyang's *only* ally puts China on the spot; the more embarrassing those ties are the harde

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      Not as long as China protects him he won't. For various reasons I don't entirely understand China has elected to keep this family in power.

      NK is China's insurance policy. As long as North Korea is around China and their abuses look a lot better by comparison. At the same time, if they ever need some international good will, they can just go along with UNSC resolutions against North Korea, or get them to open up or release some political prisoners or something. At the same time, they have a market for domestically produced entertainment, goods, and weapons because no one should be exporting things to North Korea, and North Korea cannot have

    • My understanding is that China fears that if the regime collapses, they'll have millions of North Korean refugees flooding across the border. In essence, as awful as the North Korean regime is, it's the lid on the jar, so to speak.

    • Not as long as China protects him he won't. For various reasons I don't entirely understand China has elected to keep this family in power.

      I think China has more fear of the US than we expect, and it distorts their decisions. They are still living with the memory of the Korean war, much more than we are. Also, remember that a lot of times when China wants to do something, the US says "no," and enforces it militarily, for example, by sending warships to the Taiwan strait. I'm not saying the US made the wrong decision (although I favor less military adventurism by the US), there are reasons to defend Taiwan, but China feels their own weakness ac

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by oodaloop ( 1229816 )
      China needs a friendly nation in charge of the Korean Peninsulsa in order to miantain access to the sea. Take a look at a map of China's coast. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, and numerous small U.S. controlled islands dominate their border and shipping lanes. They have a large coast, but most of it is not in their control. If North Korea became hostile to China, they would lose a lof of naval power. They are going to do everything possible to hold onto this strip of land.
      • by sjbe ( 173966 )

        If North Korea became hostile to China, they would lose a lof of naval power.

        If North Korea became hostile to China, China would and could simply topple the country and could do so quickly. China wouldn't even break a sweat putting Kim Jong-Un out of power. They don't do it because it would cause all sorts of other problems and hasn't been necessary so far but North Korea isn't really much of a threat to China.

      • China is hardly land locked and without ports or navy.

        Most of their coast is not in there control? Then who's control is it in?

    • by Guppy06 ( 410832 )

      For various reasons I don't entirely understand China has elected to keep this family in power.

      DPRK is the just about only neighbor that China has that actually likes them. Everyone else that shares a border with China has relations that run the gamut from "cool" to "antagonistic." China fears losing the Kim regime in much the same way Russia fears NATO expansion, for similar reasons.

  • It goes to show how irrelevant and inept the UN is. Since it has no Army or Navy, it can't enforce anything and expects member nations to toe the line. Sure, we all know the PRK is a repressive regime and the leadership is corrupt and brutal but they have a powerful ally with a permanent seat on the Security Council, meaning that nothing will ultimately come of trying to rein in Pyongyang or force the regime to collapse. This is a nation that has no problems starving its own people and putting them unwave

    • by C0R1D4N ( 970153 ) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @12:21PM (#46276243)
      I propose a Grand Army of the UN. Worked well for the Old Republic.
    • Do that, and North Korea is likely, in its dying moments, to bomb South Korea (if not its own populace, I honestly wouldn't put it past them). This is why there is this sort of unofficial entente between the US and China over North Korea. Neither probably likes the regime at all, but keeping it propped up is infinitely better than what may happen if it melts down.

    • Well, it's really China's imperative to do something about the monsters that they create. China shouldn't have to stop trading with North Korea, they should want to stop. Until we get to that point it won't matter much what the rest of the world thinks.

  • This is the same organization that took 10 friggin years to define the term "genocide" as it applied to the Rwandan massacres that took place unimpeded for a decade.

    So...which nations will ante up to remove KJ-u from NK to stand trial?

  • United Nations eh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Krojack ( 575051 )

    My grandma was more threatening than the United Nations. This is nothing more than a joke.

  • I'm sure Kim Jong-un is just quivering in his boots at this "strongly worded condemnation" by the UN. After all, the UN has such a strong record of following up such condemnations with action...

    What's pathetic about this is such UN declarations just serve to reinforce what an absolute joke the whole organization is. The UN has no power whatsoever to do anything to North Korea and Dear Leader knows this.

  • IMO the path to taking down North Korea is via China.

    North Korea only exists due to the largesse of China.

    If the world really cared, China would be publicly shamed everywhere on the planet - Pictures of starving Koreans in front of every embassy, consulate and trade mission. Protests in front of the offices of every state-run businesses - Huawei, Lenovo, the lot.

    Basically deeply embarrass China into realizing propping up this criminal state isn't worth it - Babies are being drowned? China's
    • China is doing much the same, and doesn't seem to care about their image. I would propose working out a solution with China for alternate shipping lanes and access to the sea; this is the only reason that China needs North Korea, and China needs it badly enough to endure a little bad publicity.
      • China is doing much the same

        Is China a paradise? No damn way - But writing something like this belittles the terrible suffering that goes on in North Korea.

        I work with a lot of Chinese - None of them were shot when they emigrated. None of them that successfully emigrated found their family and friends, including children, tortured and killed to punish them.

        Chinese can travel, go to the movies, buy a car.

        None of these options exist for the average North Korean.

        • None of them were shot when they emigrated.

          You don't say. The people you met weren't killed before?

          China is not as bad as North Korea, no shit. But they're guilty of human rights abuses aplenty and already get bad press for it aplenty. Shaming them publicly moreso than they already are will likely not work well for making them shift their strategic position on North Korea.

  • Their words are backed by the power of Nuclear Weapons!
  • China has indicated it will block the world court from initiating a case. Even if it goes though, and various actors are found guitly in absentia, there's nothing they can do but send a stern letter to the NK ambassador asking for these people to be turned over. Since those are the people running the country and its military, we all know that's not going to happen. Unfortunately, the UN really has no teeth in cases like this.
  • by DriveDog ( 822962 ) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @01:59PM (#46277651)
    Isn't this kind of like warning a serial killer to not kill again because he might be prosecuted if he does? Seriously, why would KimCo be willing to believe that by not committing any more crimes they'd be safe from prosecution? Warning them to try and minimize future crimes is fine, just don't expect it to work on them. Other Kim wannabees might possibly pay attention to it, however. But even that would work a lot better if KimCo were actually prosecuted.
  • by AttillaTheNun ( 618721 ) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @07:09PM (#46280723)

    In this day and age, there is no need to go to war with an entire nation to remove in inhumane and oppressive regime.
    Go to war with the leaders and only the leaders. The U.N. needs a tactical and surgical response. Use intelligence, snipers, spies, drones, DNA biological agents, laser-equipped frogs, ... whatever it takes. Just take them down quietly, one at a time, no press statements, warnings or threats.
    They'll eventually lose their nerve.

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