A Case for the Prosecution of Kim Jong Il for Crimes against Humanity, Genocide, and War Crimes


This article provides a factual overview of the deplorable human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea). It shows how the International Criminal Court (ICC) could have jurisdiction over these crimes. It provides the legal framework for establishing individual criminal liability for the crimes under the ICC’s jurisdiction. It applies this framework and the legal standards for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes to the facts existing in the DPRK, as provided by credible sources. It concludes that published facts indicate a reasonable basis to believe that Kim Jong Il, who controls the DPRK absolutely, is individually liable for crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes. It therefore recommends that the UN Secretary-General, preferably backed by a Security Council Resolution, launch an investigation into the DPRK situation. Pursuant to the findings of the investigation, the UN Security Council should refer the DPRK situation to the ICC or, if necessary to overcome the ICC’s temporal jurisdiction requirement, create a special tribunal to open an investigation and prosecution of Kim Jong Il and his cadres.


Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Human Rights Law | International Law | Law and Politics

Date of this Version

May 2006