Human rights group identifies over 300 execution sites in North Korea

Source: The Hill | June 11, 2019 | Rebecca Klar

A South Korean human rights group has identified more than 300 North Korean state-sanctioned executions that have taken place under the leadership of Kim Jong Un by the accounts of more than 600 first- or second-hand witnesses.

The Transitional Justice Working Group, a Seoul-based NGO, released the findings Tuesday in a follow up to a 2017 report after more than four years of research. The report notes the findings are not definitive due to limitations, such as not having access to the country. 

Ahead of each execution, a “brief ‘trial'” is held on the spot where charges are read, according to the report. The accused “often appears ‘half dead'” by the time they are brought to the site, according to the report. 

The report found the most commonly cited offenses for killings included murder, stealing copper, human trafficking, property theft and economic crimes. 

“However, given the lack of due process in the North Korean judicial system it is difficult to know whether the charges announced at an execution actually match the act committed by the accused,” the report notes. 

Crowds of 1,000 or more people attend public executions, typically at river banks or other open spaces, according to the report. Almost all reported killings were by firing squads. 

Family members are often forced to watch killings, the report alleges. The youngest participant reported witnessing an execution was 7 years old. 

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