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Citizens for Justice and Peace

Report outlines crimes against humanity in North Korea’s political prisons

14, Dec 2017 | Deborah Grey

A report by the International Bar Association (IBA) War Crimes Committee, authored by three international judges, and involving interviews with several North Korean defectors, outlines major crimes against humanity committed in the country’s political prisons. According to the IBA’s announcement of the report, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and “other regime officials should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity”; IBA cites the concept of ‘command responsibility’ under which superiors are considered responsible for their subordinates’ criminal acts to support this argument. One of the report’s authors, Thomas Buergenthal, is an Auschwitz survivor, and informed the Washington Post that “the conditions in the Korean prison camps are as terrible, or even worse, than those I saw and experienced in my youth in these Nazi camps.” The report details human rights violations such as a female prisoner being raped and impaled with a wooden stick before being beaten, resulting in injuries that caused her death a week later. In another instance, starving prisoners searching for edible plants were allegedly executed. According to the report, these prisoners hold between 80,000 and 130,000 prisoners. 

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