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Date : November 20, 2014
United Nations Urges North Korea Prosecutions
   http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/19/world/asia/north-korea-united-nation… [706]
United Nations members voted decisively on Tuesday for a groundbreaking resolution that condemns North Korea for human rights abuses and for the first time recommends the prosecution of its leaders for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

North Korea's representative, Choe Myong-nam, called the resolution an insidious plot to destabilize the country by its enemies, claiming that the resolution was based on a "compilation of groundless political accusations and contradictions."

He also said the North might conduct more nuclear weapons tests in response. 

The resolution passed by a 111-to-19 vote, with 55 abstentions. Approval at a plenary General Assembly session is a formality.

The resolution itself does not have any binding power because only the Security Council can refer cases to the International Criminal Court. China and Russia, which have veto power ont he Council, were among those that opposed the resolution. 

However, approval of the resolution by a decisive majority at the General Assembly committee represented a diplomatic slap to North Korean officials, who had campaigned furiously in the preceding weeks to thwart the vote or at least nullify its provision on accountability. 

Theoretically, the resolution means that North Korean leaders could one day be hauled as defendants before the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

The resolution was the strongest action ever taken by a United Nations body to address documented abuses in North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated and opaque countries.

Approval of the resolution came after committee members defeated an amendment presented by Cuba, a North Korea ally, seeking to delete the provision on accountability.

Cuba’s delegation said that the provision had been concocted by North Korea’s adversaries, that it would set a dangerous precedent, and that it was a “tool to sanction and condemn developing countries.”


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