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Crimes against humanity in N. Korea, U.N. panel finds

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 14, 2014 at 9:19 a.m.

WASHINGTON — A U.N. Commission of Inquiry has found that crimes against humanity have been committed in North Korea and recommends that its findings be referred to the International Criminal Court, two people familiar with the commission's report have told The Associated Press.

The commission, which conducted a year-long investigation, has found evidence of an array of such crimes, including "extermination," crimes against humanity against starving populations and a widespread campaign of abductions of individuals in South Korea and Japan.

Its report, due for release Monday, does not examine in detail individual responsibility for the alleged crimes but recommends steps toward accountability.

An outline of the conclusions were provided to AP by an individual familiar with its contents who was not authorized to divulge the information before its formal release and spoke on condition of anonymity. A U.S. official, speaking anonymously for the same reason, confirmed those conclusions.

The three-member commission, led by a retired Australian judge, was set up by the U.N.'s top human rights body last March in the most serious international attempt yet to probe evidence of systematic and grave rights violations in the reclusive, authoritarian state, which is notorious for its political prisons camps, repression and famine that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the 1990s.

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