On November 30, NKDB launched a new report titled, “Behind Closed Doors: Mapping the System of Command in the Ministry of State Security and Social Security.” This report and conference was kindly sponsored by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Korea.
First Secretary for Political Affairs from the Embassy of the Netherlands, Tom Coppen, opened the conference, with words or encouragement as ensuring accountability is a long, painful but important process.
During the first session, the results of the report were shared and analyzed with NKDB Researcher Minju Sung focusing on the necessity for the report to shed light and assign accountability for human rights violations in North Korea.
The results were then discussed by Myeongchol Ahn of NK Watch and Kyuchang Lee of KINU. The discussants delved into the structure of the Ministry of State Security and Ministry of Social Security, both being found responsible for the systemic human rights violations in North Korea.
During the second session, the influence of the report for accountability going forward was discussed by a series of panelists from the civil society, international law and UN. The second session was moderated by NKDB's Director of International Cooperation, Hanna Song. Valerie Gabard of UpRights and Eleanor Fernandez of UN OHCHR discussed ‘superior responsibility’ within international criminal law and the legal framework needed to assign accountability for the human rights violations. NKDB researcher Suyoung Yang contributed by emphasizing the need for documentation to establish a link between superiors and perpetrators.
Through the two sessions and discussions, the necessity for finding those accountable for human rights violations was reaffirmed, as the new report adds to the conversation of accountability and provides a step forward in establishing a legal basis to hold perpetrators responsible.
Thank you to those who joined us and we were honored to be joined by such prestigious panelists - stay tuned for more events!