Since taking a job with the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), all of my professional activity has taken place away from this blog behind the scenes at www.hart-uk.org, but I could not let this article pass by without blogging about it, however briefly.
Today an article by the aptly-named Colin Freeman appeared in the Telegraph, detailing a strong statement from a United Nations panel about the horrific crimes against humanity occurring in the ultra-police state of North Korea. Freeman quoted panel-member Michael Kirby, a retired Australian judge, as using a word I held no realistic hopes of hearing in the context of the North Korean regime and its leader. The word was ‘prosecution’. How this word will ever make the leap into action, I do not know; the International Criminal Court does not have its own police force, and other ICC-indicted criminal heads of state are still ‘at large’, such as Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, with little hope of bringing them in; and China has already hinted that it will use its UN Security Council veto to block the court indicting the DPRK’s leader.
Despite all this, there is still a glimmer of hope – or perhaps a stirring of grim determination – because Mr Kirby added: “If you have the power to stop it happening, you have to bear a degree of responsibility.” Though he was referring to Kim Jong-un permitting and orchestrating atrocities (if not actually inflicting them), Mr Kirby’s words can go for the world, as much as for the leaders of the DPRK.