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U.N. members push for new resolution calling for N. Koreas's referral to ICC: sources

All Headlines 06:16 October 14, 2015

NEW YORK, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea, the United States and their like-minded partners have begun drafting a new U.N. resolution calling for referring the highest official responsible for North Korea's human rights violations to the International Criminal Court, a high-level diplomatic source said Tuesday.

The move comes after the U.N. General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution last year that calls for the U.N. Security Council to refer North's human rights abuses to the ICC. The resolution led to the Security Council adopting the issue as an official agenda item for the first time.

South Korea, the U.S., Britain and Japan have launched fresh efforts to adopt a similar resolution this year, the high-level source at the U.N. told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity, adding the countries have been drafting a resolution since last weekend.

The new resolution will include the ICC referral part just like last year's resolution, the source said.

The countries have also begun collecting views from other U.N. members on what should be included in the new resolution, the source said.

"ICC referral resolutions that the U.N. has adopted so far usually don't include the names of those responsible," another source said, also speaking on condition of anonymity. "That's because more people could be found responsible in the course of the ICC's investigation."

But the source stressed that the highest official to be included in this year's resolution effectively means North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The new resolution is also expected to include calls for punishment of those responsible for human rights violations, resolution of abductions and kidnappings while voicing concerns about torture, public executions and other types of human rights abuses in the North, according to the sources.

It is also expected to include a sentence welcoming the Security Council's adoption of the issue as an official agenda item while calling for the council to hold discussions on it.

The move to adopt a new resolution is expected to anger North Korea.

But chances are not high for the Security Council to actually refer the issue to the ICC because China and Russia, which have friendlier ties with North Korea than any other countries, are expected to veto such a move. Still, the resolution played a great role in drawing international attention to the issue.

North Korea has long been labeled as one of the worst human rights violators. The communist regime does not tolerate dissent, holds hundreds of thousands of people in political prison camps and keeps tight control over outside information.

But the North has bristled at such criticism, calling it a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime.

In June, the State Department said in its annual human rights report that the North's human rights record "remained among the worst in the world" last year with public executions, political prison camps, torture and other abuses.

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