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UN to confront North Korea over war crimes

Posted on 01/31/2019 | in 深圳桑拿网 | by

The UN is preparing to confront North Korea over its dismal rights record in a key vote this week that Australian judge Michael Kirby calls a “moment of truth”.

深圳桑拿网

A UN General Assembly committee will vote on Tuesday on a resolution drafted by the European Union and Japan condemning human rights abuses in North Korea and calling for a war crimes probe.

While North Korea often features on the roster of resolutions targeting pariah states, the latest text has been the focus of intense diplomacy over provisions that could see the Pyongyang regime in the dock at the International Criminal Court.

The resolution draws heavily from a UN report released in February that detailed a vast network of prison camps and provided accounts of torture, summary executions and rape, mostly from testimony from North Korean exiles.

Responsibility for these crimes lies at the highest level of the state, according to the report, which concluded that the atrocities amounted to crimes against humanity.

The landmark report stirred alarm in Pyongyang, which launched a diplomatic offensive to ensure the key provisions urging the Security Council to refer Pyongyang to the Hague-based ICC were scrapped.

Rushing to North Korea’s defence, Cuba last week presented an amendment – that will also be put to a vote – dropping all references to the ICC and instead encouraging co-operation through fact-finding visits and talks with the UN rights office.

To counter the Cuban move, a new text was presented on Friday by the EU that included a provision welcoming co-operation on rights with North Korea, but maintaining the call for a probe of crimes against humanity.

Supporters of the EU-Japan text, co-sponsored by 48 countries including the US, are hoping for a strong vote of support to push the Security Council into taking action against Pyongyang.

After the vote in the Third Committee, the resolution will go to the full Assembly next month.

Kirby, who led the UN inquiry, has called the vote a “moment of truth” for the United Nations and said the 193-member Assembly should not be duped by offers that he described as “crumbs being thrown to the international community”.

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