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"Mind your own business", NKorea tells envoys demanding UN action

Source: Reuters - Fri, 28 Mar 2014 13:30 GMT
Author: Reuters
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North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations So Se Pyong reads his notes before a session of the Human Rights Council on the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea at the United Nations in Geneva March 17, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
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By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, March 28 (Reuters) - North Korea's ambassador told U.N. rights diplomats to "mind your own business" before they voted on Friday to demand the country face international justice for crimes against humanity likened to Nazi-era atrocities.

U.N. investigators said last month security chiefs and possibly Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un himself should be tried for ordering systematic torture, starvation and killings, saying the crimes were "strikingly similar" to those committed during World War Two.

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted a resolution, brought by Japan and the European Union and backed by the United States and South Korea, calling for the U.N. Security Council to hold to account those responsible.

Some 30 states voted in favour, six were against, with 11 abstaining.

During the debate, North Korean ambassador So Se Pyong rejected the resolution, telling the talks: "Mind your own business", drawing laughter from delegates on the last day of a four-week session to examine violations worldwide.

"Cooperation can never be compatible with confrontation."

The resolution recommends "that the report of the COI (commission of inquiry) be submitted through the General Assembly to the Security Council for its consideration and appropriate action, including through consideration of referral of the human rights situation to the appropriate international criminal justice mechanism".

However, Western and Asian powers concede that for now their chances of holding North Korea liable for crimes against humanity and influencing the isolated country are slim.

China and Russia, which hold vetoes in the Security Council, were among those voting against the motion at the rights body.

The U.N. Human Rights Council also extended the mandate of its investigator on North Korea, Marzuki Darusman, by one year and agreed to establish a field office to help him collect more evidence and testimony.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Alison Williams)

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