Bishop of Peterborough asks about human rights abuses in North Korea

On the 26th June 2017, Lord Alton asked ‘what action they are taking, in collaboration with the International Criminal Court, or through the creation of appropriate tribunals, to bring to justice perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity’. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister asked a further question relating to North Korea.


Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, in 2014 the United Nations commission on human rights abuses in North Korea declared that these were without parallel in the modern world, citing numerous cases of murder, rape and disappearances. Yet nothing has been brought to the international court or to any other regional tribunal. Why is nobody being held accountable?

Baroness Goldie (Con): I thank the right reverend Prelate for his question. North Korea is a secretive regime that is difficult to access in terms of information. In principle, the International Criminal Court could be an appropriate forum to hold North Korea to account for its behaviour, but the International Criminal Court can take action only when a war crime or crime against humanity is suspected to have been committed in or by a country which is party to the Rome statute or when the situation is referred to it by the United Nations Security Council. North Korea is not a party to the Rome statute and, as we have seen with Syria, it can be difficult to achieve such a referral when a country is not a signatory to the ICC. The right reverend Prelate may rest assured that the United Kingdom Government, in conjunction with international partners, remains concerned about activities in North Korea and we shall use all endeavours available to us to continue to register these concerns.



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