In an initiative that continues the efforts of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)’s Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPKR), the International Bar Association’s War Crimes Committee (IBA WCC) and the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea held a hearing as part of an Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korean Detention Centres. The aim of the hearing was to determine whether the situation warrants examination by an international criminal tribunal to hold those responsible accountable. Chaired by Judge Navi Pillay, along with Judges Silvia Fernandez, Silvia Cartwright and Wolfgang Schomburg, on 4 March the inquiry received oral testimony from witnesses who described multiple forms of torture and severe mistreatment, rape, forced abortion, starvation, and religious persecution, as well as information on satellite imagery and a detailed examination of the command structure governing North Korea’s Detention system. ELAC Deputy Director Federica D’Alessandra, IPS Visiting Fellow of Practice Kirsty Sutherland, and former IPS Visiting Fellow of Practice Shannon Raj Singh were part of the counsel team that wrote the inquiry submission. On 5 March, representing the IBA WCC, Kirsty also appeared alongside Greg Kehoe and lawyers from Debevoise and Plimpton as counsel in the hearing. The inquiry built on a prior inquiry held in 2016-2017 in which both Federica and Kirsty appeared as counsel.
IPS Contributes to Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea