Panel Reveals Chilling Details From Camps in N. Korea

One judge who survived Auschwitz says conditions are just as bad, if not worse
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2017 11:30 AM CST
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.   (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

(Newser) – Three international judges have been digging into conditions at North Korea's infamous labor camps, and one of them gives a damning assessment to the Washington Post: "I believe that the conditions in the [North] Korean prison camps are as terrible, or even worse, than those I saw and experienced in my youth in these Nazi camps and in my long professional career in the human rights field," says Thomas Buergenthal, who survived camps in Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen in his youth. Buergenthal is one of three jurists who've been interviewing former prisoners and guards, resulting in a blistering new report on behalf of the International Bar Association. The panel recommends that Kim Jong Un and other regime officials be brought up on war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court.

The judges concluded that Kim could face charges for 10 of 11 offenses recognized as war crimes, including systematic murder, torture, and rape. The only one he got a pass on was apartheid. Vox has excerpts from the report detailing what goes on in the North's four huge camps, where an estimated 80,000 to 130,000 people are kept. The details are chilling:

  • "Rape of teenage girls and their subsequent attempts to commit suicide by jumping in the Daedonggang River were so common that prison guards were deployed to the river to thwart them."
  • "A former prison guard witnessed a prisoner's newborn baby, most likely fathered by a high-ranking official, fed to guard dogs and killed."
(Read more North Korea stories.)

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