"There is sufficient evidence outside of North
Korea about what is happening inside, so the government can't keep a
lid on it any more. That's why this investigation is so needed,"
said Julie de Rivero of Human Rights Watch.
Michael Donald Kirby, a former justice of
Australia's High Court, and Sonja Biserko, a founder of the Helsinki
Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, are to join Indonesia's
Marzuki Darusman, its current special rapporteur on North Korea, on
the team, to be backed by researchers, lawyers and forensic experts.
"Mr. Kirby will serve as chair of the three-person
commission," said a statement issued by the president of the Geneva
forum, Poland's ambassador Remigiusz Henczel, who held wide
consultations with diplomats before naming the team.
The Council unanimously passed a resolution
brought by the European Union and Japan, and backed by the United
States, which set up the inquiry and condemned alleged North Korean
torture, food deprivation and labour camps.
Activists hope the investigation, which is due to
produce a preliminary report in September, will help expose decades
of abuse by North Korea's reclusive government.
U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay called in
January for the "long-overdue" investigation, saying that she
regretted there had been no improvement since Kim Jong-un took power
a year earlier, succeeding his late father. Her appeal came weeks
after meeting two survivors of its labour camps.
De Rivero, referring to the selection of Kirby and
Biserko, said: "I think that together with the special rapporteur
(Darusman) they will be able to do a thorough investigation of
evidence of crimes against humanity in North Korea.
"The North Koreans have made it clear that they
reject this inquiry so we don't expect North Korea to be cooperating
which is unfortunate," she said.
In recent months, the international focus on North
Korea has been mostly over its nuclear and ballistic missile
North Korea has taken two Musudan missiles off
launch-ready status and moved them from the country's east coast,
U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday, after weeks of concern that
Pyongyang had been poised for a test-launch.