ICC launches probe into alleged war crimes by North Korea

Monday, December 6, 2010

THE HAGUE - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched a preliminary investigation into alleged war crimes committed by North Korea in the territory of the Republic of Korea, court officials in The Hague said Monday.

The probe concerns both the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island Nov 23 and the sinking of a South Korean warship, allegedly by a torpedo fired from a North Korean submarine March 26.

“The Office of the Prosecutor has received communications alleging that North Korean forces committed war crimes in the territory of the Republic of Korea,” an ICC statement said.

“The Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, confirmed that the Office has opened a preliminary examination to evaluate if some incidents constitute war crimes under the jurisdiction of the Court,” it added.

The ICC has jurisdiction over alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed in South Korea since the latter has adopted the court’s Rome Statute.

The Office of the Prosecutor is mandated by such a statute “to conduct preliminary examinations for the purpose of determining if the Rome Statute criteria for opening an investigation are met”, officials said.

The shelling of Yeonpyeong Island resulted in the killing of two South Korean soldiers and two civilians and the injury of many others, while the sinking of the Cheonan killed 46.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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