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UN votes to probe North Korea ‘crimes’

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The United Nations has adopted a landmark resolution condemning North Korean rights abuses and laying the groundwork for putting the Pyongyang regime in the dock for crimes against humanity.

A resolution asking the Security Council to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court passed by a resounding vote of 111 to 19 with 55 abstentions in a General Assembly human rights committee on Tuesday.

The non-binding resolution now goes to the General Assembly for a vote in the coming weeks. China and Russia, which hold veto power on the council, voted against it.

North Korea’s Ambassador Sin So Ho reacted angrily to the vote and announced that “there was no further need for human rights dialogue” with the European Union, which drafted the resolution with Japan.

The envoy warned of far-reaching consequences, and in particular declared that there was no reason for Pyongyang “not to refrain any further from conducting nuclear tests”.

“The sponsors and supporters of the draft resolution should be held responsible for all the consequences as they are the ones who have destroyed the opportunity and conditions for human rights cooperation,” he said.

The non-binding measure ran into strong opposition from Cuba, Iran, Syria and Belarus which complained that it unfairly targeted a country and was tantamount to interference in a country’s internal affairs.

But an amendment presented by Cuba to scrap the key provisions on asking the Security Council to consider referring North Korea to the Hague-based ICC was defeated. Al Jazeera

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