29 April 2015

Arbitrary Executions Of Senior Officials In North Korea's Monarchy

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took office following the death of his father Kim Jong Il in December of 2011, following the death of his father Kim Il Sung when he died in 1994, who founded the current regime.  Kim Jong Un has ruled like a hereditary monarch as well.

He had 17 senior officials executed in 2012, 10 in 2013, and 41 in 2014. So far in 2015, he has had 15 senior officials executed on his say so with no judicial process. One of the senior officials executed in 2013 was his uncle by marriage.  Thus, he has ordered the executions of 83 senior officials since he took office 40 months ago.

No country in the world has had such a blood-thirsty and arbitrary run of monarch ordered executions of senior officials for a very long time, probably a couple of centuries, at least.  Its neighbor China, does routinely execute senior officials and business executives for corruption offenses other than murder following trials that do not meet international standards for due process, but does not do so merely at the whim of its supreme leader.

Indonesia, executed eight people (seven of them foreigners) for drug trafficking, but after trials typical for criminal proceedings in that country pursuant to legislatively adopted laws and with a ten year delay between arrest and execution to allow for the legal process to play out (although some legal appeals were not concluded at the time the execution was carried out, something that has also happened within the last year in the United States when the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiori in a death penalty case but did not stay execution of the judgment).

North Korean executions of senior officials alone, without regard to other executions, exceeds the total executions carried out in all but a handful of nations in the world, and in every one of the other nations, there was at least some semblance of due process before almost all executions were ordered,. Executions of senior governmental officials is almost unheard of outside North Korean and China.

North Korea has averaged more than 20 executions per year since gaining independence (see also here). But, there are no reliable official figures and that estimate is almost surely understated, and is currently worse than the historical average. For example:
On November 3, 2013, according to a JoongAng Ilbo report, at least 80 people were publicly executed for minor offenses. The executions were said to be carried out simultaneously in Wonsan, Chongjin, Sariwon, Pyongsong and three other North Korean cities for crimes such as watching South Korean movies, distributing pornography or possessing a Bible.
No other country in the world executes people for such minor offenses.

North Korea has a population of about 24.9 million people, just a little under the 26.96 million people who live in Texas.


andrew said...

New reports today detail a subsequent execution of the minister of defense for disagreeing with Kim and falling asleep at a public meeting, in a vicious public execution before hundreds of senior officials by anti-aircraft gun.

andrew said...

The execution of the defense minister came two or three days after his arrest and with no trial. Timing is hazy, put possibly October 2014.