File - South Korean soldiers patrol along a military fence near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas in the border city of Paju on April 26, 2013. (AFP PHOTO / JUNG YEON-JE)
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A U.N. Commission of Inquiry has found that crimes against humanity have been committed in North Korea and recommends that its findings be referred to the International Criminal Court, two people familiar with the commission's report have told The Associated Press.The commission, which conducted a yearlong investigation, has found evidence of an array of such crimes, including "extermination," crimes against humanity against starving populations and a widespread campaign of abductions of individuals in South Korea and Japan. The three-member commission, led by a retired Australian judge Michael Kirby, was set up by the U.N.'s top human rights body last March in the most serious international attempt yet to probe evidence of systematic and grave rights violations in the reclusive, authoritarian state, which is notorious for its political prisons camps, repression and famine that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the 1990s.The commission also recommends that the U.N. General Assembly and the Human Rights Council should extend the mandate of special human rights monitoring of North Korea, and proposes the Geneva-based council establish a "structure" to help ensure accountability, in particular on crimes against humanity, that would build on evidence and documentation the commission has compiled.The commission will formally present its findings to the Human Rights Council on March 17 .
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