318 sites have been found in north korea where the public execution takes place as reported by one of the NGO of south Korea. 610 North Korean defectors were interviewed by the Transitional Justice Working Group over four years for its report.It documented years of killings, for offences as minor as stealing a cow to watching South Korean TV.
Public executions have taken in places like near rivers, fields, markets, schools, and sports grounds.Crowds of 1,000 or more would gather to watch these executions, the NGO said in its report, “Mapping the fate of the dead”, released on Tuesday.
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According to one of testimony, the youngest among whom have witnessed these execution is a seven year old child.Some public executions also take place inside detention facilities such as prisons and labour camps – where people convicted of political crimes are forced into physical work such as mining and logging.
The report suggests no mercy even to the family as they sometimes even including children are made to watch the execution being carried out, furthermore the body of the executed is not given to the family neither is the person’s resting place.
One defector held in a labour camp in the early 2000s described how 80 inmates were made to watch the killing of three women charged with trying to escape to China.They said a Ministry of People’s Security officer told the crowd: “This could happen to you.”
“A core method of inciting fear and deterring citizens from engaging in activities deemed undesirable by the regime is execution” as stated by the report.
Hanging and Firing squads
Most of the execution there takes place due to firing, where three people fire one bullet each towards the condemned.Some interviewees stated that the executioners usually execute the accused in a drunk state as one said that “this is because killing is a hard thing to do emotionally”.
Ethan Shin, one of the report’s authors, told AFP that “it looks like the number of public executions is on a downward trend”, but that Pyongyang may simply be operating with more secrecy “as it seeks recognition as a normal state”.
A smaller number of public hangings was also reported, though the NGO said they appeared to have been scaled back or even halted since 2005.