18 Feb 2014

UN accuses North Korea of crimes against humanity

8:31 am on 18 February 2014

A United Nations panel has accused North Korea of crimes against humanity and warned the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, he could be held personally accountable.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Photo: AFP / KCNA VIA KNS

The investigators have accused North Korea of systematic extermination, torture, rape, forced abortions and starvation.

North Korea says it categorically rejects the UN report, which is based on interviews with survivors of the country's prison camps.

The head of the panel, the retired Australian High Court judge Michael Kirby, says the regime should allow investigators into the country.

But the BBC reports that if North Korea's leaders are ever to be tried for crimes against humanity the UN Security Council would have to refer them to the International Criminal Court.

China, a permanent member of the Security Council, has already indicated it will not do so.