It is now 45 years since the former Ugandan Head of State, Idi Amin Dada invaded Tanzania.
Amin, who described to be one of Africa’s worst dictators, attacked Tanzania and the action, would cause the infamous ‘Kagera War,’ which took more than six months.
But previously, Idi Amin who became Uganda’s President through a coup, reportedly carried out massacres against his own countrymen, and constructed detention camps near the capital, Kampala, where he committed various crimes against humanity, including tortures and executions.
Eventually, in an attempt to divert internal discontent over his action, he invaded neighboring Tanzania, posing a serious threat to regional peace and security.
Although Idi Amin’s life came to an end due to illness, even today in the northern part of Korean Peninsula, Kim Jong-un, who could be considered another Idi Amin, continues to oppress the human rights of the people.
Just like Idi Amin, Kim Jong-un has built political prison camps where he is perpetrating grave human rights violations such as imprisonment, torture and executions against dissidents.
Furthermore, he has even confined individuals with intellectual disabilities or mental illness in separate facilities, where they become subjects of humane experiments.
In particular, the North Korean regime uses forced labor and exploits the workforce in the prison camps to earn a massive amount of foreign currency to advance its nuclear and missile capabilities.
As such, Kim Jong-un’s brutal human rights oppression is not just an internal affair of North Korea, but it may pose a severe threat to international peace as Idi Amin’s invasion of Tanzania had done before.
The international community has long recognized the indispensable relationship between North Korea’s human rights and global peace that United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and UN Security Council (UNSC) have had rounds of discussions on human rights situation in North Korea.
On August 17, the United Nations Security Council held an open session on human rights abuses in North Korea in six years, but failed to adopt a resolution due to a lack of support from China and Russia.
China and Russia seemingly have little incentive to deter North Korea’s human rights abuses and provocations including ballistic missile launches, but rather demand the international community to lift sanctions against the North.
This is not a responsible attitude as a permanent member of the UNSC, but it would rather severely deteriorate human rights conditions in North Korea and take a toll on global peace and security in the long term.
The international community should no longer overlook Kim Jong-un’s atrocities, but utilize UN’s human rights and law enforcement mechanism to bring the perpetrator of heinous crimes to justice.
The UNSC should also provide more opportunities to discuss and publicize North Korea’s military provocations on human rights abuses as well as pursue measures including the adoption of an additional resolution against the North in order to address the problems.
Based on that, it is important to build a condition to indict Kim Jong-un to the International Criminal Court (ICC), or to issue an arrest warrant for him like the case of Putin in Russia.
Aside from UNSC’s measures, UNGA should make efforts to adopt a resolution in order to open a special court to convict Kim Jong-un and North Korea leadership.
As an ex-ante measure, it is necessary to name Kim Jong-un in North Korea Human Rights Resolution, pursued by the UNGA and UNHRC every year.
Though it may be difficult to realize this goal in a short period of time, strong engagement from the international community itself will put an immense pressure on Kim Jong-un.
While the international community failed to fully account for Idi Amin’s crimes against humanity, we hope that they will not repeat the same mistake when it comes to Kim Jong-un.