Newspaper article International New York Times

Kerry Wants Pressure on North Korea for Brutality

Newspaper article International New York Times

Kerry Wants Pressure on North Korea for Brutality

Article excerpt

Citing public executions, Secretary of State John Kerry said the North Korean leader's behavior increased the likelihood he would face charges at The Hague.

Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday called for increased international pressure on the government of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, berating North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and its "horrendous" executions of people close to the leader.

"The world is hearing increasingly more and more stories of grotesque, grisly, horrendous, public displays of executions on a whim and fancy by the leader against people who were close to him, sometimes on the flimsiest of excuses," Mr. Kerry said at a news conference in Seoul.

Mr. Kerry made the comment in response to a recent report that Mr. Kim had ordered the minister of the People's Armed Forces, Gen. Hyon Yong-chol, executed with an antiaircraft gun for disloyalty. General Hyon was accused, among other crimes, of dozing off during a meeting Mr. Kim presided over, the National Intelligence Service of South Korea said last week.

Mr. Kerry called Mr. Kim's government "one of the most egregious examples of reckless disregard for human rights and human beings anywhere on the planet." He added that Mr. Kim's behavior only increased the likelihood that he would face charges at the International Criminal Court.

Last year, a United Nations panel recommended that its Security Council refer Mr. Kim to the International Criminal Court over human rights violations like operating prison gulags, where the panel said hunger, torture and arbitrary executions were widespread.

"That is why it is important for us to ramp up international pressure on North Korea to change its behavior," Mr. Kerry said at the news conference with his South Korean counterpart, Yun Byung- se. "If their horrific conduct continues, it is hard to see how that referral to the criminal court would not take place. …

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