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North Korean Rights Abusers Beg For Mercy At Unprecedented Conference

REUTERS/KCNA

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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North Korean human rights abusers recently told stories of their atrocities and begged for forgiveness at an unprecedented conference in Seoul recently.

Several North Koreans who were government officials prior to their defections confessed to human rights violations at a public forum Monday, reports Daily NK.

Former members of the North Korean Ministry of People’s Security (the police) and Group 109 (an anti-socialist suppression force) confessed to crimes at a conference organized by the North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity and Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights. Their testimonies will reportedly be sent to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the United National Security Council (UNSC), and the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“When I was in North Korea, I used to punish people who were regarded as ideologically compromised, members of anti-Party groups, promoters of capitalism, and other law-breakers in North Korean society,” one individual admitted.

“In 2000, I caught three middle school students watching the Korean TV series ‘Hourglass’ during a random house search in the Donghungsan District of Hamhung City. It turned out that the videotape was bought by the son of a Provincial People’s Committee’s secretary, so we interrogated the father. During the interrogation, he was tortured every day and beaten with clubs, with all of his fingers broken.”

He shared that he handled over 500 cases and tortured suspects by ripping out their finger nails, starving them, or depriving them of sleep.

He said he “used all means and methods to prevent North Koreans from having contact with the outside world.”

“At the time, I was not aware of the fact that torturing people was against international law. I want to make an atonement to the people who were tortured, if they are still alive,” the man, who was part of a state surveillance unit, added.

“In North Korea, there is no concept of human rights, so beating people under the name of the state is actually considered patriotic,” another defector revealed. “North Korea is not much different to a society of slaves where people cannot complain, even if someone is beaten to death for no reason.”

“I regret the anti-human crimes I committed during my days in North Korea,” he further commented.

Another former North Korean official said that because of his efforts, “a considerable number of people were executed or sent to political prison camps.”

“I am deeply sorry to those who suffered greatly in prison camps or correctional camps,” he added.

The North Korean defectors who testified at the conference reportedly did so voluntarily in an effort to draw attention to the atrocities of the brutal North Korean regime. All of those who testified argued that they were acting in accordance with the demands of the state and claimed that Kim Jong-un should be tried before the ICC for crimes against humanity.

A high-ranking North Korean defector told South Korean lawmakers Monday that he fled the state because of his disillusionment with Kim Jong-un’s “tyrannical reign of terror.”

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