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장서연 2014140006

<Otto Warmbier> Case

1. Brief outline of the case

-Detention period: Jan 2016-Jun 2017 (527 days)

-PRK accused OW for “hostile act” and attempt to hurt working class

-Sentenced to 15 years of hard labour

-OW confessed he plotted to steal the poster for a Methodist church and Z Society, with links
with CIA and that he was lured by the US administration.

"I never, never should have allowed myself to be lured by the United States administration to
commit a crime in this country,” "I wish that the United States administration never
manipulate people like myself in the future to commit crimes against foreign countries.”

-Released as a “humanitarian gesture” from N Korea

2. Legal Problems against International Human Rights Law

Was the arrest itself justifiable?
-Amnesty International: N. Korea has propensity for arbitrary arrests if there are political
reasons. Before OW case, N. Korea had high tension levels with US.

N. Korea party of ICCPR —> treaty violation.

-ICCPR provides for the right to a fair trial (Article 14) and the right to be treated with
humanity, dignity and respect while in detention (Articles 7 and 10).

-No legal representation or proper defence for OW

-UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, Tomás Ojea Quintana,
said about Otto Warmbier’s case “His ordeal could have been prevented had he not been
denied basic entitlements when he was arrested, such as access to consular officials and
representation by an independent legal counsel of his choosing”.

Kangaroo Court?
-Human Rights Watch: Although legitimate judicial authority, N. Korea’s court disregarded
recognised standards of law or justice, legal and ethical obligations.

Sufficient evidence?
-Korean Central News Agency (조선중앙통신) provided low resolution CCTV footage. Difficult to
make out if the figure is OW.

-Hotel staff reported missing poster the next day when staff returned to work.

-fingerprints on the poster

OW’s confession scripted?

-The unlikely nature of his confession suggests that it was written for him by the interrogators.

-OW would have said any “suggestions” or “corrections” N.Korea told him for his freedom.

3. Possible option for international justice

UN Security Council refer situation to ICC
-Not OW case specific as ICC would focus of establishing systematic pattern of human rights
abuses in N. Korea. ICC jurisdiction limited to specific categories of crime. e.g) crimes against

—> Hold senior N.Korean leaders accountable —> especially Supreme Leader Kim.

US Security Council establish Ad Hoc Tribunal

-Prosecute individual, Kim Jong Un.

Prosecute Treaty Violation

-Legal action could be taken against North Korea alleging breaches of a number of treaty
obligations particularly, in the case of Otto Warmbier, obligations relating to the treatment of

-Violation of ICCPR