Where are the bodies buried in North Korea? Regime conducts public executions for theft, watching S Korea media


Transitional Justice Working Group

Efforts to hold the Kim regime accountable for decades of brutality against North Korea’s people have so far amounted to little, but that isn’t stopping human rights activists from trying to document the abuses, The Washington Post’s Anna Fifield reports:

The latest effort is an ambitious project by the Seoul-based Transitional Justice Working Group that aims to map sites of mass killings and mass burials in North Korea so that — one day — evidence can be collected and the regime can be held responsible….The report says that the mapping project could contribute to “the collective effort to support the push for accountability, as well as ... future efforts to institute a process of transitional justice following a change in the political conditions in North Korea.

A landmark report by a United Nations commission of inquiry in 2014 detailed a litany of abuses committed in North Korea over the decades, including torture, hard labor in political prison camps, forced abortions and infanticide, and brainwashing…..The commission recommended referring Kim to the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity…

“The commission of inquiry report was not the end, it was just the start,” said Oh Se-hyek, a North Korean defector and one of the report’s authors. “We must continue that work.”

The report reveals that North Korea carries out public executions on river banks and at school grounds and marketplaces for charges such as stealing copper from factory machines, distributing media from South Korea and prostitution, Reuters adds.

The often extra-judicial decisions for public executions are frequently influenced by “bad” family background or a government campaign to discourage certain behavior.

“Victim testimony was often given a limited place in previous hearings, like those on the former Yugoslavia and on the Holocaust,” said Sarah Son, one of the authors of the mapping report, which will be published Wednesday. “But location-based data provides a bigger picture on patterns of abuse within a country,” she told the Post’s Fifield.

The research was supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group financed by the U.S. Congress.

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