February 23, 2010 07:58
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il could be hauled before the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity if South Korea and Japan can prove that North Korea abducted their citizens during a bizarre campaign in the 1970s and 80s to find trainers for spies.
Kwon O-gon, the vice president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, made the remarks at the first human rights and environment convention under the sponsorship of the Korean Bar Association in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province on Monday.
"Under ICC rules of procedure and evidence, it's impossible for the court to investigate or indict North Korea on its own, because North Korea is not a signatory to the Rome Statute," Kwon said. "But South Korea and Japan can ask the ICC to place Kim on trial if they are determined, because crimes like abuse of South Korean POWs and abduction of South Korean and Japanese citizens took place within the territories of the two countries, which are signatories to the Rome Statue and are within ICC jurisdiction."
"Under the rules, the ICC can handle only crimes that have taken place since 2002, but it could be argued that the crimes are still in progress because the North has refused requests from South Korea and Japan to repatriate the abduction victims."
"Basically, the ICC handles individual criminal responsibility, so a mere allegation that a leader is feeding and clothing only himself while his people are starving doesn't necessarily incriminate him. In this case, there would have to be careful investigation of facts," Kwon said. "It's essential to present evidence that Kim Jong-il was aware of the criminal activities, and planned and gave orders himself to carry them out."
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