TOKYO — North Korea has asked the U.N. Security Council to investigate the CIA’s “brutal medieval” treatment of terrorism suspects just as the council agreed to consider a resolution calling for Pyongyang to be brought before an international court over its own human rights record.
In the wake of the Senate report released last week about secret CIA interrogations, North Korea is joining other nations in criticizing U.S. practices, in what appears to be an effort to deflect attention from its own problems.
“The so-called ‘human rights issue’ in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is politically fabricated and, therefore, it is not at all relevant to the regional or international peace and security,” Ja Song-nam, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in a letter to Chad’s ambassador, the current council president.
“On the contrary, the recently revealed CIA torture crimes committed by the United States, which has been conducted worldwide in the most brutal medieval forms, are the gravest human rights violations in the world,” he said in the letter, according to the Associated Press.
Ja asked the council to look into the issue with a view toward establishing “a thorough probe into the CIA torture crimes.”
His objections came as the Security Council agreed to consider a resolution calling for North Korea’s leaders to be called before the International Criminal Court to answer charges of crimes against humanity.
Last month, a U.N. committee passed a resolution, sponsored by the European Union and Japan, condemning the North Korean leadership for decades of human rights abuses.
The Pyongyang regime has been increasingly alarmed at the prospect that Kim Jong Un and his cadres will be referred to the International Criminal Court, apparently mainly out of fear for the young leader’s reputation. Kim has not left North Korea since succeeding his father as leader three years ago.
The Security Council is set to discuss the issue Monday or Tuesday, and supporters of the move are lobbying China and Russia, both permanent members of the council, not to use their veto power to stop the process. Both have also been sharply critical of the CIA.
China is considered North Korea’s main ally, although Chinese President Xi Jinping has shown little affection for the new leader.
The move toward referring North Korea to the ICC stems from a groundbreaking 372-page report released this year by a U.N. commission of inquiry that detailed a litany of alleged human rights abuses, including brainwashing, torture, starvation, executions and infanticide.