On May 25, The Dong-A Ilbo reported on the Transitional Justice conference organized in May in Washington, DC. The article, which is available at http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?biid=2013052525558, reported that:


“As North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has sent a special envoy to China and made an awkward proposal for talks, an international conference was held in Washington D.C. on Thursday on the sensitive issue of the settlement of the past of the North’s dictatorship after its collapse.

Lavinia Stan

The Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a South Korean independent think tank, hosted the conference under the theme “Transitional Justice in a Reunified Korea: Peace-Building & Reconciliation” at Stimson Center in the U.S. capital. About 100 experts on the Korean Peninsula attended the conference.

The “transition” refers to a regime change in North Korea or the communist country’s collapse and absorption by South Korea. Though such a discussion had been considered a taboo in South Korea for concerns over stimulating Pyongyang, the conference on the theme indicates experts around the world now consider the “transition” a likely event.

 Presenters at the conference called for expecting various situations caused by a contingency incident in the North and drawing up a concrete plan to clean up the dictatorship.

Lavinia Stan

Andrew Natsios, a co-chair of the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, said that an issue that required the biggest attention during a transitional period is the “retaliatory violence” and the safety of people confined at concentration camps. Lavinia Stan, a professor of political science at St. Francis Xavier University in Canada, presented on concrete measures to settle the past, including investigations and punishment of violators, with reference to the cases of Eastern European socialist regimes.

Cho Jeong-hyeon, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification in South Korea, proposed that punishments via judiciary procedures be limited to perpetrators of major international crimes such as crimes against humanity while the rest be investigated by an independent reconciliation committee and pardoned later.”

Our panel was recorded and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc5NhiLeNSo&list=PLr1zC_ETXWXmw1y5Nc7ZCFwcTQQQRCzCd&index=9.