S. Korea joins U.N. resolution on N. Korea's human rights

By 정주원
  • Published : Mar 25, 2014 - 10:30
  • Updated : Mar 25, 2014 - 10:30

South Korea has joined hands with Japan and the European Union in drafting a resolution on North Korea's human rights situation, calling on the United Nations to refer the case to an "appropriate" international justice mechanism, officials here said Tuesday.

The resolution led by Japan and the EU was presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Sunday, with member states working on details for possible revisions.

It condemned the communist country "in the strongest terms" for its "systematic, widespread and grave violations" of human rights, demanding the North repatriate abductees to their home countries.

Calling on the U.N. Security Council to take "appropriate action" to bring those responsible for the crimes to justice, the resolution also recommended the U.N. refer the case to an international judicial body.

"The resolution includes some recommendations stated in the final report by the Commission of Inquiry, which our government backs," a government source here said, explaining the reason for Seoul's decision to take part in the drafting of the resolution.

After a year-long investigation, the COI published the hard-hitting report on North Korea's human rights conditions last month, officially submitting it to the U.N. Council last week.

The report states that the communist country has committed "organized, extensive and grave crimes against humanity," recommending the U.N. refer the case to the International Criminal Court or establish an ad hoc tribunal.

The draft resolution, however, came short of specifying that the ICC should examine the situation. The ICC option is widely expected not to be realized as China, the North's strongest ally, has indicated it would veto such a move.

In the resolution, the international community also called for the establishment of a new entity to be in charge of follow-up measures regarding Pyongyang's grave rights situation, as the COI is to disband at the end of this month.

The COI, chaired by retired Australian judge Michael Kirby, was established by the U.N. rights council in March 2013 with a one-year mandate. It was the international community's first attempt to launch an official investigation into widely condemned human rights abuses in North Korea.

The 47-member council will vote on the resolution for the last two days of the current session later this week. A majority endorsement is required for approval. (Yonhap)