North Korea must face criminal court, says Christian charity

The North Korean regime must face the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its "egregious human rights abuses", a Christian religious freedom charity has said.

Two years ago the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights published a report detailing "the gravity, scale and nature" of violations in North Korea. It said they "reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world".

However despite recommending criminal action, nothing has been done, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). The religious freedom charity said action was "long overdue" and called for the "North Korean regime to be brought to justice for the appalling human rights violations underway in the country".

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is responsible for gross human rights abuses, CSW said, and must face the International Criminal Court.Reuters

"It must not be left to gather dust on a shelf but must serve as a plan of action to end the suffering of the North Korean people and hold the perpetrators of crimes against humanity to account," said CSW's chief executive Mervyn Thomas.

The charity's call is the latest in a long line of representatives making the case for international legal action against the country.

The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in North Korea, Marzuki Darusman, said on Monday: "In addition to continuing political pressure to exhort the DPRK to improve human rights, it is also now imperative to pursue criminal responsibility of the DPRK leadership.

"Not much has changed in the country almost two years after the report of the Commission of Inquiry,"

His comments follow a UN General Assembly resolution on 17 December 2015 condemning "long-standing and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights" in North Korea and a UN Security Council debate on 10 December 2015, in which several countries voiced support for a debate on referring North Korea to the ICC.

However Thomas said this was "not enough".

"We must ensure that those responsible are held to account in the ICC," he said.