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Published On: Tue, Oct 28th, 2014

Jeffrey Fowle back in Ohio, UN calls for North Korea to be charged with ‘crimes against humanity’

The United Nations chairman said that leaders in North Korea must be brought before the International Criminal Court to be held accountable for crimes against humanity.
Jeff Fowle

Jeffrey Fowle

Michael Kirby, the lead investigator for the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, held a meeting in New York this week just a few hours after American Jeffrey Fowle, who had been captured in North Korea, arrived in Ohio.

“The question that is before the United Nations now is when we face such a moment of truth, will the United Nations back away because of the steps belatedly taken by North Korea in recent weeks? And my hope is the answer to that question will be no. We don’t back away,” Kirby said. “We stand for the principles of the United Nations and we expect accountability for great crimes before justice. And that is the right of the people of North Korea.”
Kirby cited a report on human rights that listed crimes against humanity in prison camps, prisons and crimes against religious believers.
Kim Song, adviser for political affairs at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s mission to the United Nations, called the U.N. report “groundless.” He said investigators only talked with defectors of a “negative disposition.” He called those who escaped “human scum.”
Kirby told the audience to judge for themselves if they are “human scum” or witnesses trying to share their story.

The witnesses recounted their lives in prison camp and under the control of the government.

Kim asked Kirby if he had ever read the North Korean constitution, which, Kim said does not allow for human rights violations.

“I did not read the constitution before I prepared this report cover to cover,” Kirby said. “But common experience teaches in some countries where great crimes are done against the people, a constitution and the words of a constitution are not as important as the actions of officials who defied the constitution.”

The congregation at Urbancrest Baptist Church stood and applauded as fellow members Jeff Fowle and his family walked onto the stage Sunday as the former prisoner said “It’s good to be here.”
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