POWs Launch Landmark Lawsuit Against Kim Jong Un


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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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Former South Korean prisoners of war (POWs) who were detained and required to perform forced labor in North Korea after the Korean War are reportedly suing Kim Jong Un.

The lawsuit, the first of its kind, was filed at the Seoul Central District Court Friday, reports United Press International (UPI).

No individual has ever brought punitive legal action against the Kim regime for human rights violations. The two plaintiffs, identified only by their surnames Han and Hoh, are demanding $150,000 each. Han and Hoh are both over the age of 80.

After the end of the Korean War, POWs were supposed to be repatriated as part of Operation Big Switch. Around 8,000 POWs were returned. In a number of cases though, the North failed to honor the agreement and continued to hold onto prisoners.

North Korea allegedly launched a secret program where it kept tens of thousands of South Korean prisoners after the war, according to a past report by The Washington Post. When the Korean War ended, around 80,000 South Korean soldiers were missing. Several thousand were sent home, and the others were presumed dead, at least that was until a few escaped years later.

The recent lawsuit would compensate the two men for 33 months of forced labor, as well as “mental and physical suffering.”

After completing the necessary labor requirements, the two men were released into North Korean society. It is unclear when they escaped to South Korea.

North Korea’s actions constitute a violation of the International Labor Organization’s Convention Concerning Forced or Compulsory Labor, as well as an ordinance adopted at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, South Korean legal sources told UPI reporters.

It is said that there is an online petition advocating the presentation of the lawsuit to an international criminal tribunal.

As Pyongyang continues to shirk United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibiting missile and nuclear tests and punitive sanctions, it is unlikely that Kim Jong Un will pay attention to the new lawsuit.

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