A report from an organization based in South Korea, the Transitional Justice Working Group, gathered some 400 testimonies of executions committed during the last 10 years, that is to say under the regime of Kim Jong-un. Most were carried out by firing squads.
The group co-founded by Canadian researcher Scott Stevens, specializing in human rights, says some death row inmates were tortured before being shot and their bodies were mutilated afterwards.
The report of Transitional Justice Working Group adds that the dictator still granted his pardon during some trials so that Kim Jong-un’s benevolence can be demonstrated.
People are taken to the firing squad for having watched or distributed videos from South Korea, for human trafficking, prostitution or obscenity, but also for murder and attempted murder.
Testimonies indicate that in the face of criticism from the international community, the North Korean regime has chosen execution sites that are easier to control and has increased the number of executions behind closed doors. In several cases, people were executed immediately after their trial.
It took six years of data collection and testimony for the report to Transitional Justice Working Group be completed. Scott Stevens says it is increasingly difficult to obtain testimony from North Korea, as COVID-19 has caused its border with China to be completely closed, where North Koreans were traveling. managed to flee their country.
Lead author of the report, Ahyeong Park, believes testimony shows that Kim Jong-un’s regime is now responding to the scrutiny of the international community. However, he does not infer that human rights are improving in North Korea, but that fewer executions are carried out outside because they can be observed by satellites.