October 10, 2014 11:55
The European Union wants the UN to refer North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the International Criminal Court over egregious human rights violations. The UN on Wednesday circulated a draft of a resolution prepared by the EU containing the plan.
It urges the General Assembly to consider referring the North Korean leadership to the ICC.
A UN official said this is the first time a resolution on North Korea human rights includes a plan to bring the North Korean leadership before an international court. The UN has adopted a North Korean human rights resolution every year since 2005.
But even if the resolution is eventually passed at the General Assembly, there is little chance that Kim and other top officials will actually stand trial at the ICC. The Rome Statute, which established the ICC, stipulates that only members of governments that signed the Statute or of the UN Security Council can stand trial.
Under a special clause, the UN Security Council can also bring an individual before the ICC in cases involving human rights abuses even if their government has not signed up to the Rome Statute, like North Korea. That means North Korea cannot be referred to the ICC without going through the Security Council, and both China and Russia as permanent members are likely to veto the plan.
A government official here said, "The UN resolution is not enough to bring the case before the ICC. But although it is non-binding, it will put tremendous political pressure on North Korea."
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