U.N. group suggests special tribunal for North Korea rights abuses

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Feb. 20, 2017 at 10:21 PM
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Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A United Nations group of experts, tasked with identifying legal ways to punish North Korea for rights abuses, is recommending North Korea's violations continue to be referred to the International Criminal Court.

In its report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, the experts also proposed the establishment of a special international tribunal to deal with North Korea human rights, Voice of America reported.

These and other assessments were submitted ahead of the 34th regular session of the Human Rights Council, which begins on Feb. 27.

Experts say in the report North Korea's crimes against humanity are a serious concern for the international community.

Crimes that have been reported, including summary execution, rape, torture and forced labor under the regime, cannot go unpunished, according to the evaluation.

While experts call for the violations to be referred to the International Criminal Court, and for the creation of a special international tribunal to deal with North Korea human rights abuses, they also opposed the idea of a "mixed court" system that could include a North Korea-appointed judge and a U.N.-appointed justice presiding over the cases together, according to VOA.

North Korea has previously denounced similar proposals that have led to the passage of new resolutions at the Human Rights Council.

The U.N. report comes at a time when Pyongyang may have signaled interest in restarting talks with former U.S. officials.

The Washington Post reported Sunday officials on both sides might be getting ready to meet in New York for the first time in five years.

Pyongyang may be seeking a deal with the Trump administration that it was unable to attain during U.S. President Barack Obama's term in office, according to the report.

The talks are still in the planning stages and the U.S. State Department has yet to approve visas for the North Korean officials.

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