North Korea says unworried by ICC threat because it’s not guilty

NEW YORK (Reuters) – North Korea said yesterday it is not worried about a threat to refer the country to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, because it is not guilty and wants to attend a US meeting on its rights situation to defend itself.

The United Nations General Assembly urged the UN Security Council in December to consider referring North Korea to the ICC after a UN inquiry detailed wide-ranging abuses in the hermit Asian state comparable to Nazi-era atrocities.

“We are not worried at all because at every move we can strongly respond to such a move and we are not guilty of any crime,” North Korea’s UN ambassador, Jang Il Hun, told a news conference at the country’s mission to the United Nations.

“We totally reject and categorically deny all those claims,” he said.

China, a strong ally of Pyongyang, is likely to veto any Security Council bid to refer North Korea to the ICC, diplomats say.

Jang also said he asked the United States to scrap a conference on human rights in North Korea to be held at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank today.

“We also demanded that in case the conference is enforced as scheduled then we had to participate … as a party directly concerned,” he said. “I sent a formal request to my counterpart in the State Department and he responded that it’s not a US government event. So it means our request was denied.”

Asked about the North Korean request, a spokesperson for the US State Department said it was a privately organized event, while adding: “The wide range of participants from around the world reflects the international community’s continued concern with the dire human rights situation in North Korea.”

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