UN monitor Marzuki Darusman on Wednesday urged China to bring ally North Korea to heel over its record of systemic human rights abuse, likening Beijing’s clout to that of Washington with Israel.
He told reporters, “This is the kind of denial that the United States has, that it has no hold on Israel,” said Darusman, a former chief prosecutor of Indonesia.
Darusman was part of a UN-mandated inquiry team that earlier this year issued a damning 400-page report detailing endemic abuses by North Korea. It spotlighted rape, torture and enslavement, saying they could amount to crimes against humanity and comparing them to the actions of Nazi Germany.
The inquiry team has called for North Korea to be hauled before the International Criminal Court — potentially to prosecute dictator Kim Jong-un and other regime figures. But referral to the ICC requires approval by the UN Security Council, where China wields a veto.
Barred from North Korea by Pyongyang, the UN monitors have interviewed defectors in South Korea and other countries, and used satellite imagery to build an idea of North Korea’s network of concentration camps.
North Korea has dubbed the witnesses “human scum” and, in regular attacks at the UN Human Rights Council, charged that probes are part of a “vicious, hostile policy” piloted by Washington.
Darusman blasted that position. “It’s a convenient facade that the North Koreans are adopting, by continuing with their denials but at the same time seeming to engage by being present at the UN Human Rights Council sessions and responding to the findings by continuing with the theme that all the findings are fabricated,” he said.