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Perpetrators of N.K. human rights violations to be revealed

Perpetrators of N.K. human rights violations to be revealed

Posted October. 23, 2013 05:42,   


Kim Ryeon-hee, who was repatriated during pregnancy to North Korea after defecting from the communist country, was beaten for eating stolen corn, and had miscarriage before dying. The suspected perpetrator in this case was Chae Myeong-il, then staff sergeant and guard at Songpyong Station of the People’s Public Security Bureau in North Hamkyong Province, who was born in 1980.

This is part of a “case report on North Korean human rights,” which was recently released by the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights. Records on human rights violations in the North are compiled according to types including torture, execution and detention at political prison camps, including the name, date of birth and affiliation of the perpetrators. It is the first time that detailed profiles of suspects involved in human rights violations of North Korea have been specifically documented.

The disclosure of profiles of perpetrators in North Korea is aimed at sending not only to those individuals but also to the Kim Jong Un regime a message “Personal profiles of those responsible for human rights violations are being accumulated, and those who are responsible will be brought to justice without fail.” The center noted that the measure is also expected to prompt those committing human rights violations in the North to lessen the severity of their infringement for fears of punishment later on. These efforts are also linked with a campaign by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry, which started activities last July to gather specific data required to prove Kim Jong Un’s crimes, leaving open the possibility to bring the North Korean leader to the International Criminal Court.

In the case of Germany, before reunification former West Germany thoroughly recorded incidents of human rights violations committed in East Germany, gathered and stored related materials at the Salzgitter central archives. The more than 43,000 cases of records that were stored at that time became critical legal ground to punish those responsible for human rights violations in East Germany. “For acts violating human rights that are currently committed in the North, perpetrators will be held responsible sometime in the future,” said Yoon Yeo-sang, director of the North Korean Human Rights Archives. “North Korean authority should realize this now although belated, and stop all different acts of violence, and torture.”

Data contained in “Reports on North Korean human rights cases” have been gathered by the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights through interviews with North Korean defectors, and then underwent a review process by the verification committee within the center. According to reports, Won Myeong-hwa, who was detained at the Hoeryong City Jeongeori correction house in North Hamkyong Province, was severely beaten by a security guard to death in February 2011. The suspected perpetrator is Kim Chang-soo, a security guard in charge of the eighth chamber at Jeongeori correction house who was born in October 1978. In an interview with the center, a prison mate of the victim who witnessed the beating death, testified, “As Kim Chang-soo so strongly beat (Won Myeong-hwa) with stick, Won’s face turned pale…. darkish extravagated blood poured out of his mouth.”

A Seoul-based organization involved in North Korea affairs recently conducted a survey of 300 North Korean defectors, who suffered torturous acts at detention facilities in the North. It found half (49 percent) of them are still suffering physical and mental aftereffect.