How has North Korea reacted to a historic United Nations vote to begin the process to refer its leadership to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity?
By threatening nuclear strikes on the US, Japan, South Korea and all US “followers”. In other words, by offering to commit further crimes against humanity.
“It would be funny if it were not so serious,” says the man who gathered the evidence for the case, Australia’s Michael Kirby. “You should always take seriously threats by someone in charge of a nation state, especially if they have possession of a reported 20 nuclear weapons.”
But, tellingly, North Korea seems more frightened by Kirby’s report and the consequences than any of its target countries are by its threat of “unimaginable and catastrophic consequences.”
Pyongyang had furiously denounced the report itself as a “fraud” and a tactic of “the frantic human rights racket” and labelled the witnesses who had come forth as “human scum.” But all the testimony, given in public, is now on the public record, on the UN website, for all to see.
Why is Pyongyang so afraid? Even if the report goes to the UN Security Council, even if North Korea’s traditional protectors China and Russia decide not to exercise their veto, even if it is referred to the International Criminal Court, the chance of ever getting Kim into the dock at the Hague must be a very small one. The country already labors under a raft of international sanctions.
“I think the regime is genuinely shocked,” says Kirby. “North Korea is not used to being the issue, and sailing under the radar. Those days are over. The international community has had enough.”
As the matter goes to the full General Assembly and then the Security Council in the days ahead, we will find out whether that it true.
[Sydney Morning Herald]