North Korea asks that UN Security Council take up CIA torture allegations

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UNITED NATIONS — North Korea asked the U.N. Security Council in a letter Monday to take up the CIA's harsh treatment of terror suspects, instead of the North's own human rights situation.

North Korea's U.N. Ambassador Ja Song Nam objected to the inclusion of his country's human rights record on the Security Council's agenda for debate — the first step toward a possible referral to the International Criminal Court.

"The so-called 'human rights issue' in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is politically fabricated and, therefore, it is not at all relevant to the regional or international peace and security," Ja wrote in the letter to Chad's U.N. ambassador, the current council president.

"On the contrary, the recently revealed CIA torture crimes committed by the United States, which has been conducted worldwide in the most brutal medieval forms, are the gravest human rights violations in the world," he added, requesting that the council take up the issue with a view toward establishing "a thorough probe into the CIA torture crimes."

It is highly unlikely that the CIA issue will ever make it onto the agenda of the council, where the U.S. has veto power. There was no immediate comment from the U.S. Mission to the U.N.

A recent U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report detailed brutal interrogations of terror detainees during the George W. Bush administration, with tactics ranging from simulating drowning to improvised enemas.

North Korea's human rights situation was placed on the council agenda after two-thirds of its members, including the United States, requested it. That debate will occur Dec. 22 or 23, Chad's Ambassador Mahamat Zene Cherif said Monday.

A U.N. commission of inquiry report early this year detailed widespread human rights abuses in North Korea and warned that leader Kim Jong Un could be held accountable. Last month, the U.N. General Assembly's rights committee approved a resolution calling on the Security Council to refer the North's human rights situation to the ICC.

Even though permanent council member China is likely to veto any ICC referral, regular Security Council debate of North Korea's human rights will elevate the issue.

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