UN experts call for death penalty moratorium in North Korea

The recent execution of a senior official in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) “is just one among multiple executions” reported in the country since August, carried out with total disregard of due process and other international human rights standards, United Nations independent experts said today, calling on the Government to immediately halt the practice.

“The arrest, trial by a special military tribunal and execution of Jang Song Thaek, uncle of the country’s leader Kim Jong Un, all reportedly took place within five days,” said the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, Marzuki Darusman.

Mr. Darusman also expressed particular concern about the practice of “guilt by association” in the country. When a person is punished for a political or ideological crime, associates and members of his or her family also risk punishment by either being sent to prison camps or being executed immediately.

His condemnation was echoed by UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, as well as the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez, who has endorsed the concerns.

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