Steven Kay QC on Inquiry Findings Regarding Political Prisons in North Korea



Written by Steven Kay QC

The IBA War Crimes Committee established a team of counsel to prepare a brief for an Inquiry to establish whether the infamous Political Prisons in North Korea called Kwanliso established decades ago by Kim Jong Un’s grandfather were still in existence, under what conditions, who was responsible and whether this was a crime against humanity. It was believed whole generations of families still remained in these isolated camps and the people incarcerated in barbaric conditions had no prospect of release but to remain and die.

Evidence was collected from the IBA Commission on North Korea, defectors from the regime and from experts on the political structures of the state and through satellite imagery that proved the Kwanliso were still in existence and operational. The defectors were former camp guards and controllers of the camps who had escaped from the regime.

A hearing was held before international Judges in Washington DC at which evidence was presented by the War Crimes Committee counsel who examined the defector witnesses and the experts and the satellite imagery. A full brief including evidence and legal argument was submitted to the Judges.

The evidence proved that the political leadership of North Korea that functions through obedience to the Supreme Leader was aware of the existence of the camps, supported their operations and created conditions that were crimes against humanity.

This is an important body of work upon an aspect of the North Korean Regime that was little known because it represented the most horrific treatment of generations of families held isolated in adverse conditions with no prospect of release. Whole families from great gandparents to babies were removed from daily Korean life and placed in 5 designated camp areas with no humane consideration given for their survival.

This Inquiry shines a light upon what happens to ordinary people who have no political voice and no rights including that of survival.

Kim Jong-Un will face a reckoning on a date and at a place in the future where he will have to account for matters for which he is responsible as will those who support him and cary out his orders. There is no defence of following orders available to those who commit crimes against humanity.

Kim Jong-Un is being investigated and this report will form part of the evidence against him. International investigations for universal crimes against humanity use this type of evidence to establish the grounds for bringing a case.

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