Department of Political Science
This article discusses North Korea as a case of state-induced famine, or faminogenesis. A famine from 1994 to 2000 killed 3–5% of North Korea’s population, and mass hunger reappeared in 2010–2012, despite reforms meant to address the shortage of food. In addition, a prison population of about 200,000 people is systematically deprived of food; this might be considered penal starvation. There seems little recourse under international law to punish the perpetrators of state-induced famine and penal starvation. State-induced famine does, however, fit some of the criteria of genocide in the United Nations Convention against Genocide, and could also be considered a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. There would seem, then, to have been a case for referral of North Korea’s recently deceased leader, Kim Jong Il, to the International Criminal Court, and it is still a case for referral of Kim’s successors. However, strategic concerns about North Korea’s nuclear weapons outweigh humanitarian concerns about North Korea’s citizens.
Howard-Hassmann, Rhoda E. (2012) "State-Induced Famine and Penal Starvation in North Korea," Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal: Vol. 7: Iss. 2: Article 3. DOI: 10.3138/gsp.7.2/3.147 Available at: https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/gsp/vol7/iss2/3