The supreme leader, whose name was the only one listed on the ballot, was voted in to office through an election that had a 100 percent turn out. He will be representing his district in the Supreme People’s Assembly. Though politically he has achieved a high honor with his unanimous election, Kim Jong Un was specifically named in a letter from the UN warning of prosecution. After a yearlong investigation, they collected enough evidence to bring North Korea to trial over crimes against humanity, which the report recorded in great detail. Also covered in the report was his grand luxury spending that tops even his father’s, and the illegal actions the regime uses to gather these funds.
The elections held Sunday were for the deputies of the highest legislative body in North Korea. In the last election, 687 deputies were voted in, but reports have not yet been released as to who else was elected. Despite the impressive number of people in the Supreme People’s Assembly, it has little remarkable power. It meets around once a year, and every other time that they are not in session, most tasks are handled by another, smaller and more powerful group called the Presidium.
The state-run news declared that this is a demonstration of the complete support and “profound trust” placed in Kim Jong Un. They also praised the citizens for their loyalty which they “single-mindedly” give to their supreme leader. The North Korean people are fortunate to have such loyalty to keep them safe, considering the evidence the UN gathered on the political prison camps. Through satellite imaging, 80 witness testimonies, and 240 other confidential interviews, the report was able to include the infant malnutrition and specific methods of torture used on civilians.
The chairman of Commission of Inquiry at the UN, Michael Kirby, called out Kim Jong Un by name which has never been the usual policy, but Kirby thought it necessary. The retired Australian judge explained that the name had to be included because of the totalitarian nature of the country, and how the civilians are treated. Kim Jong Un was urged to, “render accountable all those, including possibly yourself, who may be responsible for crimes against humanity.” As military commander, he can be held accountable for those under his control.
Other issues addressed in both the letter and in the 372-page report are systematic executions, rape, and mass starvation of its people. All of which they deny. According to the North Korean government, the political prison camps seen in the pictures do not exist. With the new evidence, questions can be raised on how Kim Jong Un managed a unanimous election when the supreme leader himself received the warning from the UN that prosecution may be coming for crimes against humanity.
It is likely they will never actually make it to trial because China, one of five with veto abilities in the UN, does not care to use the International Criminal Court. They released a statement saying they would prefer a nice dialogue and through mutual respect these violations against humanity can be resolved. This means Kim Jong Un can return to his lavish lifestyle, which the report also documented, and not need to worry.
Though “lavish” may not be enough to cover it. Kim Jong Un’s father was renowned for his spending as well. His love of cognac cost him one million a year to import, he had 17 palaces, which held his 20,000 DVDs, and dozens of luxury cars. All together his average luxury budget was $300 million a year. Putting this to shame is Kim Jong Un’s 2012 amount of $645.8 million. The profitable activities of ivory trafficking and illegally selling alcohol in Islamic countries is partially how North Korea funds his expenses, reported a former official of the country.
“Too many times in this building there are reports and no action,” Kirby said of the United Nations. “Well, now is a time for action. We can’t say we didn’t know.” The UN ‘s actions and concerns will not be reported to the people of the country who supposedly elected Kim Jong Un unanimously, but he still has his warning of prosecution for how he has allowed them to be treated. With between 80,000 to 120,000 people populating the political camps, some abducted from other nations, actions are still being made to get this resolved in other ways than the International Criminal Court hearing. The entire report will be debated by the UN on March 17.
By Whitney Hudson