North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

National Meeting of Judges and Prosecutors Held

Commemorative photograph taken of participants at meetings of DPRK prosecutors and judges, along with senior Korean Workers’ Party, DPRK Government and Korean People’s Army officials (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

A building of the DPRK Supreme Court (DPRK Central Court) in central Pyongyang (Photo: Google image)

DPRK state media reported on 27 November (Tuesday) that “active” DPRK prosecutors and judges attended a commemorative photo session with “senior party, state and army officials.”  The prosecutors and judges gathered in Pyongyang during 25 to 27 November.  On 25 November (Sunday) the prosecutors and judges delivered floral baskets and bouquets to the statues of the late DPRK founder and president, Kim Il Sung, and the late supreme leader Kim Jong Il, on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang. During their stay in Pyongyang, they visited KIS’ childhood home in Mangyo’ngdae.  On 27 November, DPRK state media reported that the prosecutors and judges visited the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery on Mt. Taeso’ng where they attended a wreath-laying ceremony and delivered bouquets of flowers at the memorial to Kim Jong Suk, wife of Kim Il Sung and mother of Kim Jong Il and his sister, Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary Kim Kyong Hui.  The prosecutors and judges also visited the Museum of Arms and Equipment of the Korean People’s Army where, according to KCNA, “they deeply grasped the undying feats of the peerlessly great persons of Mt. Paektu who built the independent and modern defense industry and put the DPRK on the status of a military power and full-fledged nuclear weapons state.”

Participants at a meeting of the DPRK’s prosecutors and judges attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery on Mt. Taeso’ng in Pyongyang (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

On 26 November (Monday) a national meeting of the country’s prosecutors and judges was held at the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyonyang.  There was a joint meeting of judges and prosecutors at which a letter from Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) titled “On Bringing About a New Turn in the Judicial and Procuratorial Work as Required by the Developing Revolution” was read by KWP Secretary Choe Tae Bok.  After the joint meeting, separate meetings of DPRK prosecutors and DPRK judges convened.  Attending all of these meetings were Choe Tae Bok and Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium President Yang Hyong Sop, officials of the KWP, the DPRK Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office (Central Public Prosecutor’s Office), the DPRK Supreme Court (DPRK Central Court) and “model officials of the judicial and procuratorial institutions across the country.”

Participants at a national meeting of the DPRK’s “active” prosecutors and judges present floral bouquets to the statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang (Photo: KCNA)

According to KCNA Kim Jong Un’s letter to the national meeting said :

The judicial and procuratorial organ of the DPRK is Chuch’e- based and revolutionary law-enforcement organ which was founded and developed by President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il.

The immortal exploits and experience President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il performed and gained by putting forward Chuch’e-based judicial ideas and wisely leading the work to implement them are guidelines that the judicial and procuratorial institutions should always adhere to and eternal treasure.

Judges and prosecutors have invariably taken the lead in the class struggle, rain or shine, devotedly defending the party and the leader, ensuring by law the implementation of the party’s policies and reliably defending the socialist system and the gains of the revolution.

The work of judicial and procuratorial institutions in building Korean-style socialist law-governed state under the leadership of the party and tasks to be fulfilled by them is important.

The judicial and procuratorial institutions should enhance their important function and role in every way under the monolithic leadership of the party and thus bring about a drastic turn in carrying out their sacred mission of safeguarding the leader, policies, social system and the people.   The judicial and procuratorial institutions should give priority to devotedly defending the headquarters of the revolution.

It is also necessary for the judicial and procuratorial institutions to put emphasis on ensuring by law the implementation of the party’s policies.

The judicial and procuratorial institutions should spur all fields and units of the national economy to push back the frontiers of latest science and technology and increase production with the help of science and technology.  It is also necessary for them to regularly monitor and control the implementation of the party’s policies and the observance of law and norms in the field of land management and environmental protection and intensify the enforcement of law as for such practices which deter advantages of socialist educational system and medical care system of the DPRK from being displayed and the state popular policies from being enforced.

They should reliably defend the socialist system in the DPRK with the need for the judicial and procuratorial officials to heighten revolutionary vigilance and expose and foil in time moves of enemies, internal and external, for undermining the socialist system in the DPRK.

It is an important policy requirement and principle of the party at present for the judicial and procuratorial institutions to orientate the law enforcement to cementing the single-minded unity in the country.

The judicial and procuratorial institutions should skillfully carry out the work with foreign law enforcement institutions, widely disseminate the Workers’ Party of Korea’s Chuch’e-based judicial policies and resolutely foil the moves of the U.S. imperialists and their stooges to defame the dignity of the DPRK under the signboard of “human rights”.  They should properly handle all the problems in the interests of the party, revolution and people of the DPRK and improve legislation service for foreigners.

The judges and prosecutors should hold Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in high esteem as the eternal leaders of our party and the people and uphold with loyalty the party’s leadership with faith and conscience.

They should personify Kim Jong Il’s patriotism and carry it into practice and thus leave vivid traces of life in the building of a powerful and prosperous nation.  They should resolutely defend the interests of the people and devotedly work for the sake of their interests so as to become faithful servants for the people believed and loved by them.

All the judges and prosecutors should bring about a drastic turn in the judicial and procuratorial work true to the party’s leadership and thus guarantee by law the victory of the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e and military-first that was started on Mt. Paektu.

At the meetings of prosecutors and judges, reports and speeches were delivered and focused on “the history of the judicial and procuratorial institutions in which they have covered the road of victory and glory under the leadership of the party and the leader is a brilliant chronicle associated with the immortal traces and precious exploits of the peerlessly great persons of Mt. Paektu.”  According to KCNA meeting the speeches “called upon all the judicial and procuratorial officials to thoroughly implement the important tasks set forth in the letter of Kim Jong Un and thus creditably fulfill the sacred mission and duty to protect the leader, policies, the social system and people” and “underscored the need for all fields and units to ensure that the party’s economic policies are thoroughly implemented and the popular policies of the state correctly enforced and reliably protect by law the socialist system and the lives and properties of the people.”

Officials representing the DPRK prosecutors and judges deliver a floral basket to the Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il statues on Mansu Hill in central Pyongyang (Photo: KCNA)

(Photo: KCNA)

The last national meeting of the DPRK’s prosecutors and judges was held at the People’s Palace of Culture on 18 November 2005.  It followed the same format as Monday’s meeting in which the prosecutors and judges gathered for a joint meeting at which communications from the central party and senior officials were delivered followed by “panel meetings of public prosecution and justice fields were separately held.”  While the 2005 meeting did not include explicit references to “to heighten revolutionary vigilance and expose and foil in time moves of enemies, internal and external” as the 26 November 2012 meeting, it did ask participants to”safeguard the WPK’s revolutionary cause by law is associated with the wise guidance provided by the three generals of Mt. Paektu” and for “all public prosecutors and judges to be bulwarks and shields devotedly defending the headquarters of the revolution in the van.”  Unlike the 2005 gathering, KCNA did not disclose the names of the leading officials (sometime called “chief functionaries”) of the DPRK’s prosecution or judicial organizations.  While it is highly likely the last known DPRK Public Prosecutor-General, Ri Kil Song has been dismissed from office (ca. 2010) and his position migrated to Jang Pyong Gyu, there was no report on the status or presence of Kim Pyong Ryul, the 86-year old President and Chief Justice of the DPRK Supreme Court and a member of the KWP Central Committee.

Interestingly, the meetings of prosecutors and judges was the third large-scale gathering of leading officials and personnel of the country’s major internal security organizations in the past seven days.  Kim Jong Un began this sequence when he attended a photo-op with senior officials and personnel of the Ministry of State Security and was debriefed by the MSS’ top officials, reported on 20 November (Tuesday).  KJU’s MSS visit was followed by the national meeting of Ministry of People’s Security branch chiefs and social security officials, reported on 23 November (Friday); KJU also attended a commemorative photo session with the MPS personnel who participated in the meeting.  The gathering of the MPS branch chiefs and the the prosecutors and judges might be viewed in the context of the other large Pyongyang-based gatherings in 2012  of members of Workers’ Organizations (Kim Il Sung Youth League, Korean Children’s Union) and different sectors of DPRK society (note: the last prosecutors-cum-judges meeting was held the same year, 2005, as the last national meeting of mothers).  This is an opportunity for the leadership to convene different constituency groups for messaging, education and indoctrination that it will neither telecast through state media nor via dedicated party communications channels (i.e., the “third broadcast” radio system, party cells, party guidance secretaries).

And yet, during the second half of 2012 the core leadership has paid special attention to the internal security agencies (which will play a leading role in whatever economic and social policy modifications are currently unfolding).  In July, Kim Jong Un attended a concert given by the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces [KPISF] and attended a commemorative photo-op at MPS headquarters.  This occurred a week after the public dismissal of Ri Yong Ho as Chief of the KPA General Staff and his removal from political office.  In early October, a Kim Jong Il statue was dedicated at the Ministry of State Security’s headquarters, which was followed several days later with a visit by KJU to MSS headquarters at which KJU remarked that “The security men should wage a fierce struggle against the enemies on the invisible front as they did always.  The security men should make a revolution, remaining loyal to the party to the last in any storm and stress.”  At the same time as KJU’s MSS visit in October, the Ministry of People’s Security renamed its education facility after Kim Jong Il and convened a meeting of students and trainees of the MPS and KPISF.

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