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Group of Independent Experts on Accountability pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution 31/18 on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Human Rights Council resolution 31/18 requested the High Commissioner to designate, for a period of six months, a maximum of two existing independent experts in support of the work of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to focus on issues of accountability for human rights violations in the country, in particular where such violations amount to crimes against humanity, as found by the commission of inquiry. The final report of the commission of inquiry is available here.

On 9 September 2016, the High Commissioner designated Ms. Sara Hossain and Ms. Sonja Biserko:

Ms. Sonja Biserko (Serbia): Founder and President of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia. Founding member of the Centre for Anti-War Action in the Belgrade Forum for International Relations. Senior fellow in the United States Institute of Peace. Received several human rights awards, including the Human Rights Award of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights in New York and the Human Rights Award of the University of Oslo. Member of the former commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Ms. Sara Hossain (Bangladesh): Barrister, practicing in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh for over 20 years, with focus on constitutional and public interest litigation, including on freedom of expression, economic and social rights, and gender justice. Ran the South Asia Programme at INTERIGHTS from 1997 to 2003. Served as a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists, and founder Director of the South Asia Women’s Fund. Recipient of awards, including from the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.

The experts are not United Nations staff, are not remunerated, and serve in their independent personal expert capacity.

Mandate of the group of independent experts

Human Rights Council resolution 31/18 requested the group of independent experts on accountability, "taking into account existing international law and prevailing State practices with regard to accountability:

(a) To explore appropriate approaches to seek accountability for human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in particular where such violations amount to crimes against humanity, as found by the commission of inquiry;
(b) To recommend practical mechanisms of accountability to secure truth and justice for the victims of possible crimes against humanity in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, including the International Criminal Court"

The Special Rapporteur will include the report of the group of independent experts on accountability as an annex to his report to the Council at its thirty-fourth session, as requested by Human Rights Council resolution 31/18.

Call for submissions

The group of independent experts invited interested parties to submit information and their views pertaining to the above described mandate, focusing on (1) approaches to seek accountability for human rights violations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and (2) practical mechanisms to secure truth and justice for victims.

Report of the group of independent experts

Click here to view an advanced edited version of the Report of the Special Rapporteur and the Report of the Group of Independent Experts on Accountability, which were presented at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council on 13 March 2017. Click here to view the statement of the Special Rapporteur and here for the statement of the Group of Independent Experts.