With 20 nuclear warheads and a “missile system it continues to parade and test” North Korea poses an existential threat to the world, said the head of a UN investigation into human rights abuses in the country.
Like health and climate change “it’s an issue that affects us all”, Michael Kirby told a London conference on North Korea.
Kirby and his team found evidence of “systematic and appalling” human rights abuses on a scale with those perpetrated by Nazi Germany during their inquiry, which was based on testimonies from 80 witnesses and 240 confidential interviews.
The team’s report was 400 pages long but by Kirby’s own admission it still did not manage to address serious allegations of forced labour or the persecution of Christians and homosexuals.
Nearly two years later Kim is yet to appear at the Hague, an American student has been sentenced to 15 years hard labour for allegedly stealing a poster and thousands of North Koreans continued to be imprisoned and executed with impunity.
Kirby’s inquiry has also now been disbanded deliberately, he claimed, to send message to world leaders that North Korea is now everyone’s responsibility, not just the UN’s.
Kirby, a retired Australian judge, gave the conference his 15 commandments – “five more than the almighty” – that could help temper the threat posed by Kim and his regime.