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Murder will shed light on abuses: Yun

Feb 21,2017
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said new light will be shed on Pyongyang’s human rights abuses at a UN Human Rights Council meeting early next month.

Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference Sunday in Germany, Yun addressed the shocking assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s estranged half brother, Kim Jong-nam, on Feb. 13 in Malaysia.

“Many foreign leaders are showing a lot of interest on this case,” he said, “recognizing how extremely cruel and serious the issue is.”

The foreign minister went on to say that the brutal assassination in Kuala Lumpur International Airport “is a matter of human rights and infringement of sovereignty,” adding “this will become a natural occasion to comprehensively gather the opinions on the responsibility of those who commit crimes in the international community.”

Yun said that the UN Human Rights Council meeting early next month “will be an opportunity to shed new light on the North Korean government’s responsibility on its human rights abuses.”

In March 2014, the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution endorsing a landmark report by the UN Commission of Inquiry on systematic, widespread violations of human rights in Pyongyang, concluding that senior members of North Korea’s military regime, including leader Kim Jong-un, had committed or overseen a broad range of crimes against humanity. It advised the UN Security Council to bring the issue to the International Criminal Court.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, South Korea’s acting president, said Seoul was “near certain” that the North Korean regime was behind the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of the late Kim Jong-il.

As he presided over a National Security Council in Seoul Monday, Hwang said, “Putting together what was announced by Malaysian authorities and various intelligences, the North Korean government was almost certainly behind this case.”

He added, “This murder, which happened in the international airport of a third country, a public space, is an intolerable crime against humanity and terrorist act” that “clearly showed the North Korean government’s recklessness and brutality.”

Hwang said, “We will consider cooperation with the international community so that North Korea can properly pay its dues for the act of terror.”

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]