US Court Awards $30 Million to Family of Slain Missionary in Landmark Judgment against North Korea
ICC Note: A United States court has granted $330 million to the family of slain missionary Rev. Kim Dong-Shik, with $30 million going to Kim’s son and brother and $300 million in damages against DPRK of North Korea. This decision carries significant implications in that it was the first case that concluded that a foreign government that abducts someone who is not heard from again, “has the burden of proving that he has not been murdered.” According to reports, there are at least 100,000 Christians in North Korea’s brutal prison camps where people are faced with torture and the threat of execution on a regular basis.
By Anugrah Kumar
04/14/2015 North Korea (The Christian Post) – A U.S. court has awarded $330 million to Shurat HaDin, or Israel Law Center, on behalf of the U.S.-based family of Rev. Kim Dong-Shik, a Christian missionary and activist who was abducted by North Korean agents inside China and later killed in North Korea.
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia awarded the family $330 million — which includes $15 million dollars each to Kim’s son and brother, as well as $300 million in punitive damages — against the government of North Korea, known as DPRK, Israel Law Center said in a statement Monday.
“This is an important human rights decision that will be utilized in all political abduction cases going forward,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the Israeli group’s director, said.
Abducted from China in January 2000, Kim was later tortured to death in a prison camp in North Korea. Kim’s family brought the lawsuit in 2009 against the DPRK and its intelligence service.
Kim was from South Korea but a permanent resident of the U.S.
It’s a landmark judgment as it’s the first decision by a U.S. court concluding that a foreign regime that abducts an individual, who is then never heard from again, has the burden of proving that he has not been murdered.
“We are grateful that the court has found that once we proved the kidnapping of Rev. Kim by North Korean intelligence and brought human rights experts to testify about the horrific conditions in the political detention camps, the burden must be on Pyongyang to show was still alive after so many years,” Darshan-Leitner said.
Initially, the federal court refused to find North Korea liable, insisting that the Kims’ attorneys provide actual proof of his torture and subsequent murder.