East Asian Observer
X JEAIL 1 (2017)
EAST ASIAN OBSERVER
Han Kim and North Korean Accountability
for Torture and Unlawful Killing
& Andrea Lazarow
This note assesses the implications of the D.C. Circuit Court case of Han Kim v.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in which the court found the North Korean
state responsible for the torture and unlawful killing of Kim Dong Shik, a South Korean
missionary who was abducted by the North Korean government while in China. In
particular, this note shows how the judgment breaks new ground by holding a state
responsible for torture and unlawful killing based solely on general evidence of that
country’s human rights practices, without additional information about the fate of
the victim himself. This note also discusses this case’s implications for the plaintiffs
themselves, and for other victims of North Korean human rights abuses.
Han Kim, North Korea, Accountability, Torture, Unlawful Killing
Korean regime responsible for its rampant commission of human rights abuses and
crimes against humanity. Human rights activists and legal commentators have most
commonly focused their attention on targeted human rights sanctions, the prospects
∗ Professor at the Graduate School of International and Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul,
Korea. A.B.(Princeton), J.D.(NYU), LL.M.(GWU), Ph.D.(Antwerp). ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2820-3566.
He may be contacted at: email@example.com/Address: 270 Imun-Dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Globeedorm, #A806,
Seoul 02450 Korea. This article was supported by the 2017 Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund.
∗∗ Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies School of Law.