UN: North Korean Leaders Should Be Prosecuted

Non-binding resolution passes; China, Russia stand in way
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2014 7:19 AM CST
UN: North Korean Leaders Should Be Prosecuted
Choe Myong-nam, North Korea's official in charge of UN affairs and human rights, leaves after a draft resolution vote in the UN General Assembly human rights committee on Nov. 18, 2014.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

North Korea's leaders should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity, according to none other than the UN. In a 111-19 vote, with 55 abstentions, UN members made what the New York Times calls the organization's strongest-ever move against the North, saying its leaders had violated human rights and should face the International Criminal Court at the Hague. The move is non-binding, CNN reports. An actual referral to the court would require UN Security Council approval—and that body includes China and Russia, which voted against the resolution. Either country could veto the move, CNN notes.

Still, the move left North Korea fuming, as a representative to the UN called the resolution a "compilation of groundless political accusations and contradictions." Choe Myong-nam warned of "unpredictable and serious consequences" of the vote, noting that it could prompt North Korea "not to refrain any further from conducting nuclear tests." A US-based expert on the country says North Koreans "are very genuinely upset over" the vote, which follows a UN report in February highlighting extensive abuses in the country. (More North Korea stories.)

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