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PRESS RELEASE: HRNK Releases New Report: Arsenal of Terror— North Korea, State Sponsor of Terrorism
April 26, 2015


Report Embargoed until 12:01 am EDT, Monday, April 27, 2015

Committee for Human Rights in North Korea Releases New Report: Arsenal of Terror— North Korea, State Sponsor of Terrorism

North Korea’s sponsorship of terrorism is a threat to human rights in several regions of the world today, including the United States, reveals a new report by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).  HRNK will launch the 100-page report, Arsenal of Terror—North Korea, State Sponsor of Terrorism on April 27 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  

Authored by attorney and North Korea expert Joshua Stanton, Arsenal of Terror examines the legal standards for listing a state as a sponsor of terrorism (SSOT), the legal effects of a SSOT listing, and the evidence that North Korea’s recent conduct meets that standard.

“Arsenal of Terror presents a careful examination of the law and politics surrounding designation as a state sponsor of terror together with a comprehensive review of North Korean activities in reference to the law. This invaluable and unprecedented report has set the gold standard and will be the standard reference on this issue for years to come,” says Marcus Noland, HRNK Board member and executive vice president and director of studies, Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE).

The report determines that the applicable standards are vague and inconsistent, that U.S. State Department reporting on terrorism has not always conformed to these standards, and that some of the consequences of North Korea’s SSOT re-listing would be legally and financially substantial. Arsenal of Terror further reveals that evidence of North Korea’s recent sponsorship of terrorism is both extensive and consistent with the applicable legal standards and precedents cited to justify previous SSOT listings.

According to Nicholas Eberstadt, HRNK Board member and Henry Wendt Scholar in Political Economy, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), "Joshua Stanton's careful and meticulously documented study provides broad and compelling evidence that the DPRK continues to operate as a state sponsor of international terror.  The facts he marshals are deeply disturbing—and also diplomatically inconvenient for those who wish for Washington to continue its "de-listing" of North Korea as a designated and sanctioned State Sponsor of Terror.”

“Stanton's study will surely invite further discussion of how the U.S. government and the international community should respond to Pyongyang's violations—and it will also most admirably help clarify thinking about the sorts of abhorrent actions that should be regarded as "terrorism" by civilized nations," says Eberstadt.

North Korea was removed from the SSOT list in 2008. The report examines North Korean assassinations and kidnappings, both attempted and executed as well as plots to commit such acts, before and after 2008. The report further scrutinizes other conduct that could justify North Korea’s SSOT re-listing, including threats against civilian targets and terrorist financing.

“Since 2008, North Korea has increased its use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy, and also appears to have increased its material support for designated terrorist organizations,” says HRNK Executive Director Greg Scarlatoiu. He further adds: “North Korea’s recent conduct poses a particular threat to human rights activists and dissidents in exile. It has also repeatedly threatened the civilian population of South Korea and other nations, including the United States. The re-listing of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism could lead specifically to court cases supportive of victims.”

The report goes beyond just an investigation of North Korea, to call on the United States to clarify the legal standards for SSOT listing as well as the definition of “international terrorism” and “support of terrorism.” Arsenal of Terror further recommends that the United States report and consider all acts that meet the applicable legal standards, and create an alternative authority to sanction threats to international peace that do not qualify as sponsorship of terrorism. The report proposes that the United States reconsider the sufficiency of existing SSOT sanctions.

The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, established in 2001 by a distinguished group of foreign policy and human rights specialists, seeks to draw attention to human rights conditions in North Korea by publishing well-documented reports and papers, convening conferences, testifying at national and international fora, and seeking creative ways to bring freedom and human rights to the North Korean people. 

The report Arsenal of Terror—North Korea, State Sponsor of Terrorism, embargoed until 12:01 am EDT Monday, April 27 is available on HRNK’s website: www.hrnk.org.

Contact:  Joshua Stanton, author: [email protected]

   Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director, HRNK: [email protected]; 202-499-7970



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