Suzanne Scholte, President of the Defense Forum Foundation and a tireless advocate for the people of North Korea, has an excellent oped in the Wall Street Journal in which she reminds the South Korean government that they still have a few tools to use against their aggressive norther neighbor.
“[South Korea] should establish and convene a tribunal of South Korean judges and legal experts to collect evidence and take defectors’ testimonies with the hope that, eventually, those guilty of these heinous crimes face prosecution. Under the Constitution of the Republic of Korea, North Koreans are citizens of South Korea and thus have standing in South Korean courts.”
She goes on to list four reasons why this tribunal might actually have an impact:
1) Convening a tribunal and reporting regularly on its findings would send a powerful message that one day the North’s criminals will be held accountable for their actions.
2) Over 16,500 defectors have fled North Korea…Just as the testimonies of Holocaust survivors were and continue to be used to hunt down those responsible for the Nazi death camps, the North Korean gulag survivors’ testimonies must be utilized to hold accountable those who are committing today’s Korean holocaust.
3) Third, North Korea has been falling apart internally for some time, but free nations must give Kim Jong Il loyalists a reason to oppose him.
4) A tribunal would contribute to the healing process for those who have been victimized and lead to the reconciliation process that must accompany the two Koreas’ reunification.