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U.N. likely to call for tribunal on N.K. rights

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Published : 2014-03-24 21:26
Updated : 2014-03-24 21:26

The U.N. Human Rights Council is likely to call on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to face a trial at an ad hoc tribunal for torture, abuse and other rampant human rights violations in the communist country, Seoul officials said Monday.

The 47-member council is currently working on a resolution to be adopted later this week in Geneva. A draft spearheaded by the European Union and Japan reportedly recommended for the Security Council to take appropriate action including bringing the issue to an “international criminal justice mechanism.”

“We’ve come up with a draft resolution but there is room for further revisions,” a Seoul official told The Korea Herald, asking for anonymity because the process is still ongoing.

The call is in line with a recent report by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry that detailed “systematic, widespread and gross” human rights violations entailing crimes against humanity in North Korea.

It recommended that its findings be sent to the International Criminal Court in The Hague or an ad hoc tribunal set up by the U.N.

The ad hoc tribunal appears to have emerged as a more realistic option as Pyongyang is not a signatory of the treaty that created the ICC and even if it was, China would almost certainly veto any referral to the ICC. The special court may be established by a majority vote at the General Assembly.

In an interview with a Dutch broadcaster on Monday, President Park Geun-hye urged Beijing not to veto the COI report, saying that doing so would “impact” the international calls for human rights in North Korea.

“The key is how the COI report will be reflected in the resolution,” another Seoul official said on customary condition of anonymity.

“No matter what the resolution says, there should be corresponding action from either the Security Council or the General Assembly. Which one it will be remains to be seen because at the council there is veto power while at the assembly you never know how things will go,” the official added.

By Shin Hyon-hee (heeshin@heraldcorp.com)

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