International Fact-finding Team Visits DPRK to Accuse U.S. of Its Wartime Atrocities in Korea
The international fact-finding group visits a war museum in Sinchon County, South Hwanghae Province, where the U.S. troops killed 35,383 innocent civilians.
The international fact-finding team, headed by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, visited the DPRK between May 15 and 19 to investigate the cases of massacre committed by U.S. troops during the 1950-53 Korean War.
During its five-day visit, “the international group to probe the truth behind GI’s atrocities” inspected scenes of massacres committed by U.S. troops, heard testimonies of survivors and discuss matters concerned with DPRK officials concerned in preparation for “the Korea International War Crimes Tribunal on U.S. Troop Massacres of Civilians during the Korean War” to be held from Jun. 23 to 25 in New York.
The investigation team visited Sinchon County in South Hwanghae Province to conduct an inquiry in “the Sinchon Massacre,” while visiting the Sinchon War Museum, collecting documents and materials on the massacre and hearing testimonies of victims. (The U.S. troops, after occupying Sinchon County, killed 35,383 innocent people in the county or a quarter of the total population of the county from October 17 to December 17, 1950. In the DPRK, the Sinchon massacre is a symbol of the U.S. troops’ wartime massacre.)
Mr. Clark said that as an American citizen he felt guilty about GI’s atrocities during the Korean War. Noting that the U.S. government, afraid of the disclosure of its wartime atrocities to the world, has tried to cover up the truth, he stressed that victims’ testimonies were of great importance as they exposed part of the U.S.’s history of aggression against Korea and would be widely used to let many people know about the sufferings imposed by the U.S. on the Korean people.
The fact-finding team also held talks in Pyongyang with survivors of the Korean War and collected their testimonies about U.S. troops’ mass killings of civilians, indiscriminate bombing by the U.S. Air Force and its use of germ bombs.
Members of the international fact-finding team hear testimonies of victims of the Korean War in the Pyongyang International Culture Center on May 17.
The former U.S. attorney general said that facts probed and testimonies made by victims would be made public at the upcoming international war crimes tribunal to be held in New York.
In a press conference held on May 18 in Pyongyang, Ramsey Clark said that he had “the urgent task to let people know about the misfortunes and sufferings the Korean people have undergone since the U.S. forces occupied south Korea in 1945.”
“We will strive to let people of the world have a correct understanding of Korea and war crimes committed by the GIs,” he added.
The investigation team also said, in a press conference in Seoul after wrapping up its five-day visit to north Korea, that it witnessed the severity of the U.S. wartime crimes committed in north Korea during the Korean War and that their crimes were much severer than those committed in south Korea in the scale of damage and degree of cruelty.
Referring to the facts that the U.S. still stations its armed forces in south Korea and creates the condition of the division of Korea, Ramsey Clark pointed out that the U.S. still persistently makes vicious propaganda against the DPRK to cover up the truth about its war crimes.
Stressing that the biggest scar left by the Korean War was the division of Korea, he said that the U.S.’s policy of maintaining the division of Korea should be punished as “a crime against peace” in the New York war crimes tribunal.
Brian Becker, a joint chairman of the International Action Center, said he would make every effort for the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from south Korea and for a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
In September 1999, Associated Press began publishing a series of articles based on an investigation of the massacre that took place in the south Korean village of Rogun-ri in July 1950.
Faced with the increasing demand at home and abroad for a thorough inquiry into the truth about the incident, the U.S. and south Korea formed a joint investigation body to probe the Rogun-ri massacre. But their 15-month-long joint investigation of the massacre produced a joint investigation report which evaded liabilities of the government and the armed forces of the U.S. for their active commitment in the massacre. Lame duck President Clinton supported this U.S. no-fault conclusion, issuing a statement of “regret,” which the survivors denounced as a total whitewash.
The historic people’s war crimes tribunal is scheduled to be convened on Jun. 23 in New York, co-sponsored by the Korea Truth Commission on U.S. Military Massacres of Civilians, the International Action Center, a U.S. national progressive organization, and Veterans for Peace, a veterans’ group in the U.S.
The tribunal will judge cases of massacre committed by the U.S. armed forces from 1945 to 1953 and crimes committed by the USFK against south Korean people after the truce of the Korean War.
Kitandra Shandra, former justice of the Indian Supreme Court, will serve as presiding judge. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, former justice of the south Korean Constitutional Court Pyon Jong Su and a north Korean lawyer will form a joint prosecution panel.
Mr. Clark said that one of the main purposes of the New York war crimes tribunal is to expose the U.S. war of aggression against Korea to “raise international public opinion that the U.S. should not interfere in the matters of the Korean nation and prepare a favorable situation for Korea’s reunification” as well as to thoroughly probe the truth behind war crimes.
In the war crimes tribunal, victims in north and south Korea and in foreign countries will make testimonies on war crimes committed by U.S. troops. A joint judging panel will be formed by lawyers from 16 nations which participated in the Korean War as members of the U.S.-led U.N. Forces.
The Korea Truth Commission, a pan-national coalition of civic groups, was organized in June 2000, participated in by civic organizations of north, south and overseas Koreans, after the political parties and organizations of north Korea issued a joint appeal to their south Korean counterparts and overseas Koreans to unfold a more active nationwide struggle to disclose and condemn the U.S. wartime massacre of Korean civilians.
While activities for investigation in the U.S. wartime massacres of civilians had been severely restricted in south Korea for a long time, the DPRK established a national fact-finding committee in July 1950, the month following the breakout of the Korean War, to probe U.S. war crimes. Ever since the cease-fire of the war, the committee has conducted a systematic investigation up to now, widening its scope of activity to crimes committed by the USFK in south Korea.
Jong Gi Ryol, secretary-general of the joint secretariat of the Korea Truth Commission, announced that north and south Korean lawyers would meet in Beijing on Jun. 17 to draw up a joint indictment to be presented to the upcoming Korea international war crimes tribunal. He also informed that Ramsey Clark, lawyer Michael Choe and other lawyers plan to file a suit in a U.S. court against the U.S. government for the war crimes committed by its armed forces during the Korean War.
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