I N V I T A T I O N: Findings of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea's Political Prisons (National Press Club, Dec. 12 from 9:30am-10:45am)

 

The event will be held at the National Press Club from 9:30-10:45am on Tuesday, December 12. To register, please click  HERE.

Under the auspices of the War Crimes Committee, three internationally renowned judges - Navanethem 'Navi' Pillay (Chair), Thomas Buergenthal and Mark Harmon - led the Inquiry and authored the Report.  Judge Navi Pillay will deliver keynote remarks at the December 12 event.  Among other things, Judge Pillay has served as a judge on the International Criminal Court, as President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008-2014.  Greg Kehoe of the IBA's War Crimes Committee also will deliver remarks.  Among other things, Mr. Kehoe, a former federal prosecutor, led the team of lawyers and investigators that advised the Iraqi Special Tribunal, an ad hoc court formed to prosecute Saddam Hussein and other regime officials.

The Report contains nine (9) Calls for Action, including a call for the UN to provide the International Criminal Court or a special international tribunal with jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute those responsible for committing crimes against humanity in North Korea's political prisons, known as kwanliso .  The Report also calls on North Korea to dismantle its gulag system and release an estimated 80,000-130,000 political prisoners.  (Note: this figure includes scores of children, spouses, parents, etc., who have been imprisoned pursuant to North Korea's longstanding policy of eliminating the "seed" of three generations of "class enemies.") Further, it calls for targeted sanctions against persons responsible for past or ongoing crimes against humanity in North Korea's political prisons, as well as a ban on the importation of products made with materials or labor from North Korea's penal system.

Relying on satellite imagery and the testimony of numerous defectors - including North Korea's highest ranking defector in recent years, Thae Yong-ho - the Report debunks North Korea's ongoing denial of the very existence of its political prisons, which Amnesty International describes as "very possibly home to some of the most appalling torture in the world."  Evidence of crimes presented to the Inquiry included:

 

  • prisoners tortured and killed on account of their religious affiliation, with officials instructed "to wipe out the seed of [Christian] reactionaries"

  • a prisoner's newborn baby being fed to guard dogs and killed

  • an abortion induced by three men standing on a wooden plank placed on a pregnant prisoner's stomach

  • a female prisoner losing consciousness after enduring a beating designed to trigger premature labor, with prison officials killing her baby before she could regain consciousness

  • the deaths of countless prisoners as a result of deliberate starvation, malnutrition and overwork, including 16-hour shifts in coal mines for minors and adults alike

  • routine public executions carried out in front of prisoners of all ages, including young children

 

Finally, Hogan Lovells, an international law firm that previously has worked to raise awareness of human rights abuses in North Korea, provided very significant pro bono assistance to the Inquiry.

Thank you for giving this your consideration.  We hope to see you at the National Press Club on December 12th.

Best regards,

Michael Maya
Director
International Bar Association, North America Office
1667 K St. NW, Suite 1230, Washington, D.C. 20006
Michael.Maya@int-bar.org | (202) 827-3385

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(c) 2017 Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea's Political Prisons

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