Professor Emeritus Thomas Buergenthal Concludes Kim Jong Un Should Be Tried for Crimes Against Humanity

Prison concept
December 12, 2017

Thomas Buergenthal, Lobingier Professor Emeritus of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence, who served on the International Court of Justice, is one of three jurists who have concluded that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should be tried for crimes against humanity for the way his regime uses brutal political prisons to control the population according to a new report released by the International Bar Association War Crimes Committee.

Titled, "Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korean Political Prisons," the report focuses on evidence of crimes against humanity committed in North Korea's political prisons, which include systematic murder, starvation and overwork leading to countless deaths, and more. Professor Buergenthal is quoted in The Washington Post, saying, "I believe that the conditions in the [North] Korean prison camps are as terrible, or even worse, than those I saw and experienced in my youth in these Nazi camps and in my long professional career in the human rights field." He was in Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen as a child.

During a day-long hearing held in Washington, D.C., in 2016, the judges heard testimony from North Korean defectors, including a North Korean political prison guard and prison camp survivors. The report, which was published on December 12, found that there was ample evidence to charge the Kim regime with 10 of the 11 internationally recognized war crimes. 

Read the entire report

Additional News

Watch Professor Buergenthal discuss his life and career in international law in a two-part interview with Professor Sean Murphy, Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law.

Watch the interview