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Pillay wants to see Pyongyang before ICC

GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Tuesday the North Korean government should face the International Criminal Court for its rights record.

An independent U.N. Commission of Inquiry published its report Monday on the human rights situation in North Korea. The commission said crimes against humanity in North Korea included "extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation."

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North Korea is accused of placing its military and nuclear programs above the welfare of its people. Pillay said Tuesday the details outlined in the commission's report were unspeakable and it was time to refer to the situation to the International Criminal Court.

"There can no longer be any excuses for inaction," she said in a statement.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday the commission's report found the human rights situation in North Korea to be "among the world's worst." British Foreign Minister for Asia Hugo Swire said the violations raised in the report were shocking.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying downplayed allegations Beijing was "aiding crimes against humanity" in North Korea, its ally, the Yonhap News Agency in South Korea reported Tuesday.

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