by Bruce Klingner
The Heritage Foundation
February 20, 2014
A United Nations Commission of Inquiry issued a damning condemnation of the North Korea government for “systemic, widespread, and gross violations of human rights.” The commission concluded that the human rights abuses were of such a monumental scale as to constitute crimes against humanity. The panel recommended referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for those responsible, including North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, to be held accountable. While no one expects Kim Jong-un to be standing in the dock of justice anytime soon—particularly since China has characteristically already announced it will block such action—the U.N. report could have several indirect impacts. With a legal foundation for prosecution formally laid, North Korea could find it more difficult to gain business partners and humanitarian assistance. The United States and South Korea should be spurred to impose additional sanctions on the regime.

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