Morse Tan


Throughout the last twenty years, the international focus on North Korea has predominantly been on its security issues while there is a paucity of scholarship exploring the legal implications of North Korea’s grave human rights violations. This Article attempts to bridge this void through international humanitarian law, which applies to North Korea’s continued hostilities and defiance on the Korean peninsula and around the world.

This Article further analyzes international law in relation to North Korea’s repeated irresponsible military provocations against South Korea, the United States, and the world. It looks at such actions through an international humanitarian law lens, which no other scholar has explored in this way, and presents a new paradigm in which the world’s most serious international crisis (security combined with human rights) can be evaluated.

By analyzing the Korean Armistice Agreement, armistice law, and inter-Korean agreements over the last several decades, this Article will explain major legal implications of the ongoing Korean War. This Article not only argues that North Korea has perpetuated the Korean conflict through continued hostilities and belligerent behavior, but also that North Korea has committed, and continues to commit, rampant violations of international humanitarian law principles.

This Article chronicles yet another angle of North Korea’s defiance of international law and provides a starting point for future prosecution of Kim Jong-Un, as well as other responsible leaders. Building on prior articles, this Article seeks relief for a devastated population living in hunger, fear, and horrendous injustices.