The commission stressed the importance of accountability for those responsible for grave abuses. The UN Security Council has recognized the gravity of the situation by addressing North Korea’s bleak human rights record as a formal agenda item on the Security Council two years in a row.

The UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly have condemned the human rights situation in North Korea in previous resolutions and highlighted the need for accountability, including calls for the Security Council to consider referral to the ICC, consistent with the commission recommendations. However, China and Russia have stymied such a referral in their capacity as permanent members of the Security Council.

“By including in the resolution the call to create this panel of experts, the council will be paving the way to finally end decades of unchecked rights abuses in North Korea,” Fisher said. “The scale of the abuses, the needs of North Korea’s countless victims, and the council’s own credibility require nothing less.”