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Gregory W. Kehoe Helps Deliver Findings on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea Political Prisons

TAMPA, FL – Jan. 2, 2018 Greenberg Traurig, P.A. Tampa Shareholder Gregory W. Kehoe, who is Co-Chair of the International Bar Association’s War Crimes Committee, co-presented the findings of the committee’s Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korean Political Prisons on Dec. 12, 2017 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Kehoe was part of a group of distinguished attorneys and jurists who assembled and considered evidence for the inquiry’s report, which will be provided to the United Nations.

In presenting the findings, Kehoe was joined by Michael Maya, Director, North America Office of the International Bar Association; Judge Navanethem Pillay, Chair of the Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korean Political Prisons; Frederica D’Alessandra, Co-Chair of the International Bar Association’s War Crimes Committee; and Deen Kaplan, Partner and Co-Head of the International Trade & Investment Practice at Hogan Lovells.

“This inquiry is an important step in providing the evidence necessary to bring those responsible for committing crimes against humanity in North Korea to justice,” said Kehoe, who worked for the U.S. Department of Justice as a prosecutor for over 20 years with postings in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America. “With this inquiry we hope to increase public awareness of the human rights violations that are happening in North Korea’s prisons and review the practical and legal options we have for holding the architects and overseers of these alleged crimes against humanity accountable.”

The inquiry, which was conducted by 10 attorneys and jurists over nearly two years, found “ample” evidence that crimes against humanity have been and continue to be committed “on a massive scale” in political prisons of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “Experts estimate these prisons currently incarcerate 80,000 to 130,000 prisoners, many of them children, spouses, parents and other family members of the imprisoned, pursuant to North Korea’s longstanding policy of eliminating the ‘seed’ of three generations of class enemies,’” the report on the inquiry said.

In addition, the inquiry found evidence that “ten of the 11 crimes against humanity enumerated in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) … have been and continue to be committed, with only the crime of apartheid deemed inapplicable. The ten relevant crimes are murder, extermination, enslavement, forcible transfer, imprisonment, torture, sexual violence, persecution, enforced disappearances, and other inhumane acts.”

The perpetrators of these crimes range from Kim Jong-un, who has been chairman of the Workers Party of Korea since 2012, to lower-level prison guards, the report on the inquiry said.

The inquiry “calls upon the United Nations to provide the ICC, or a special international tribunal with jurisdiction, to appropriately investigate, punish and remedy the crimes against humanity chronicled [in the inquiry] and further calls on the international community to advocate for the United Nations to take such action.

 Other recommendations include a call for:

  •  North Korea to dismantle its political prison system;
    Third-party states to exercise universal jurisdiction over regime officials where warranted;
    Targeted sanctions against persons responsible for past or ongoing crimes against humanity in North Korea’s political prisons and beyond; and
    A ban on the importation of products made with materials or labor from North Korea’s penal system

While serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Kehoe was responsible for successfully prosecuting a number of high profile cases involving financial institutions and corporate fraud allegations, as well as racketeering charges. He also led the team of lawyers and investigators who advised the lraqi Special Tribunal, an ad hoc court formed to prosecute Saddam Hussein and members of his former regime.

With more than 30 years of trial experience, Kehoe now has a national and international practice at Greenberg Traurig focusing on representation of individuals, corporations and financial institutions. This includes representation before federal and state courts as well as international tribunals. He recently represented General Ante Gotovina in his complete acquittal before the lnternational Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Kehoe also represented General Mohammed Hussein Ali before the lnternational Criminal Court, which also led to a full dismissal on all charges.

Access the International Bar Association’s War Crimes Committee Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korean Political Prisons here:

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