UN rapporteur urges UNSC to refer N. Korean human rights violations to ICC

TOKYO– UN Special Rapporteur on North Korea’s human rights situation Tomas Ojea Quintana renewed Thursday a call on the UN Security Council to consider referring North Korean human rights abusers to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Seoul’s Yonhap News Agency reported.

“The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is currently recruiting legal experts who will be tasked with setting up a repository of cases of human rights violations that will inform future prosecutions,” Quintana was quoted as saying in a press conference that wrapped up his four-day visit to Seoul.

“Progress has also been made in South Korea, where testimonies continue to be collected and recorded. These efforts are a critical component of the DPRK (North Korea) human rights agenda as they serve to not just hold those responsible to account, but also to deter policies that violate human rights and to provide victims with avenues for seeking legal remedy,” the special rapporteur noted.

In its report to the UN General Assembly in 2014, the UN Commission of Inquiry, which led an investigation into the North Korean human rights situation, recommended the Security Council refer the case to the ICC. “Let’s not forget that one important recommendation of the human rights framework of the UN is to ask the Security Council to refer the case of DPRK to the ICC and that recommendation is still alive,” he said.

Quintana added that the human rights issue should be part of the agenda for any future talks with North Korea. “While I am encouraged by the possibility that diplomatic talks with the DPRK on the issue of denuclearization may resume in the near future, I also wish to emphasize that human rights should be an essential part of this agenda,” he noted.

Source: Kuwait News Agency