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North Korea Leader Should Be Told He Could Face Trial, U.N. Official Says


GENEVA — A United Nations human rights investigator said in a report released Monday that the organization should officially notify North Korea’s top leader, Kim Jong-un, that he and subordinates could face trial for heinous crimes. The investigator also recommended the creation of an expert panel to identify ways of prosecuting them.

The investigator, Marzuki Darusman, the special rapporteur monitoring developments in North Korea, also said in the report that “no tangible improvement” had been seen in the state of human rights in the country since a commission of inquiry two years ago implicated its leaders in wide-ranging crimes against humanity, including “extermination,” murder, torture, enslavement and persecution on grounds of race, religion and gender.

Mr. Darusman’s 13-page report, which he will present next month to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, said, “The urgent challenge now is to determine which methods can be most effectively utilized to hold perpetrators accountable.”

Mr. Darusman was a member of the commission of inquiry, which urged the Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court. Mr. Darusman reiterated that recommendation but said the General Assembly could create a tribunal to prosecute crimes for which international law does not permit amnesty.

To ease that process, Mr. Darusman recommended the council create a committee of experts to determine the appropriate approach under international law and recommend “creative and practical mechanisms of accountability to ensure truth and justice for victims of crimes against humanity.”

Under international law, Mr. Darusman said, prosecution of Mr. Kim and top leaders should be considered for ordering or instigating crimes against humanity even if lower-ranking personnel committed them.

North Korea, perhaps the world’s most isolated country, denounced the findings by the commission of inquiry, calling them lies and propaganda concocted by its enemies, principally the United States.



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