Kim Jong Un, the despotic dictator of North Korea, has recently been warned by the U.N that he could be tried by the International Criminal Court. This warning follows a 400 page final report by the United Nations` Commission of Inquiry into DPRK. The report includes testimony from numerous eyewitnesses to the many atrocities occurring in the country. Interestingly, the findings of the commission were that the human rights abuses occurring in North Korea are “strikingly similar” to the horrendous crimes committed by the Nazis before and during World War Two.
Certainly Kim Jong Un`s offenses are reminiscent of the crimes against humanity for which twenty two Nazi war criminals answered to at the first Nuremberg trial. This landmark trial showed the world that power couldn’t always protect against prosecution. Hopefully in the future, Kim will be forced to answer for persecuting innocent people, imprisoning an entire nation, and threatening peace in surrounding countries.
In North Korea, 150,000 to 200,000 people languish in prison camps. In these camps, torture and public execution are frequent. Forced abortions are performed on all pregnant women. Children, who are made to be victims of their families “crimes,” are torn apart by dogs and buried alive. The prisoners begin work long before dawn, and finish only after it is too dark to continue. They are fed very little rations, which are supplemented by snakes, rats, and grain picked out of animal dung. Approximately 40% of people in these camps die from malnutrition.
The vast majority of individuals living and dying in these camps have no idea why they are there. This is because North Korea has a policy of three generations of punishment. This program means that if someone commits a transgression, their siblings, spouse, children, and grandchildren will suffer as a result. Many people live their entire lives in these camps. In this way, three generations of a family is wiped out. Infractions that lead to these horrors include watching western movies, attempting to escape to China or South Korea, or not weeping hysterically enough at the funeral Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un`s monstrous father.
Retaliations against family members have kept many North Koreans from fleeing. Defections are infrequent, and only 100,000-300,000 people have fled North Korea since 1953. Those who flee to China are under constant threat of being caught and returned to the DPRK. China has refused to grant North Koreans refugee status and instead return them to face torture and death in the camps. The majority of refugees are women, many of whom forced into marriage or sexual slavery. Those who are lucky enough to find their way to South Korea face a new set of challenges. They are far less educated than the South Koreans and are scarred both physically and mentally from their years of suffering. Affirmative action provides them with admission to college and scholarships, however the dropout rate startlingly high, due to lack of a formal education and emotional problems. The suicide rate among defectors in South Korea is reportedly very high, with 55% admitting that they contemplate suicide sometimes or often.
Despite all the challenges the North Korean refugees face in South Korea, they at least have access to an adequate amount of food. In North Korea the young dictator uses starvation as a tool to control the entire populace of his nation. 80% of households lack a necessary amount of vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins in their diet. According to the World Food Programme, in 2013, 54% of North Koreans admitted that they needed more food. Despite this, Kim Jong Un spends the little wealth of the nation on extravagant luxury items. While his people starved, the spoiled boy-king spent around 645.8 million in 2012, which amounts to 20% of the DPRK`s yearly budget. He was just photographed aboard a 7 million-dollar yacht and has a personal theatre built to fit 1,000 of his closest friends. His yearly expenditure on alcohol tops more than 30 million dollars. Not surprisingly, he has surpassed his father, Kim Jong Il, despite the late leader’s massive spending on self-indulgence, such as a pleasure squad of 2,000 virgins whose ages ranged from 15-25.
Kim Jong Un has spent much of the remaining budget on his military. The DPRK has conducted three nuclear tests, all of which aimed at developing nuclear weapons capabilities. Despite the suspected failure of their nuclear program, it is inevitable that at some point, if they are not stopped, that could create a nuclear weapon. While luckily, if they did develop such a weapon, it would not have the capability to reach North America, it could however do immeasurable harm to Seoul, the capital of the highly modernized and industrialized South Korea. 13,000 artillery pieces are positioned along the border between the two warring nations, all with the range to reach Seoul, 35 miles away. The threat to Seoul, the largest city proper in the developed world, is what keeps South Korea and the U.S. from retaliating.
In addition to the constant threat of attack, the South has also had to contend with abductions of their citizens by the DPRK. South Korea claims that the North has kidnapped 485-486 citizens. In addition to this, the South estimates that 560 South Korean POWs remain in North Korea despite the armistice agreement in 1953. While the war and abductions did not occur under Kim Jong Un, he has not released the abducted citizens nor any information about them. South Korea has not been the only victim of these kidnappings; the citizens of Japan have suffered as well. Between the years 1970 and 1980 the DPRK conducted planned kidnappings of Japanese citizens. The Japanese government officially recognizes 18 kidnappings, and the North Korean Government states that only 13 occurred; however they may have been hundreds. Most of the kidnapped individuals were in their twenties. The reason behind these kidnappings are not known for sure, however many have speculated that the young abductees were forced to teach the Japanese language and culture to North Korean spies. North Korea allowed five of the abductees to visit Japan, where thankfully their government took a stand and refused to return them. The DPRK presented death certificates for the other kidnapped individuals in recent years, however later admitted that they were forged.
While only a small number of the atrocities committed by Kim Jong Un could be addressed in this brief article, it is clear that he is an international criminal. The corrupt dictator cannot maintain his reign of terror forever, and someday he will have to yield to the inevitable downfall of the starving nation. Hopefully, Kim Jong Un will be brought to trial to face his accusers and be punished for the evil he has done.