(Photo) Inmates of the "Disciplinary Labor Center" being sent to work sites. Taken by Shim Ui-cheon in East Haeju, South Hwanghae Province, September 2008 (ASIAPRESS)



It has been reported that "crowd trials" (public trials), which are openly held in plazas in all parts of North Korea, are frequently taking place. The people put on trial are those who were arrested for non-socialist and anti-socialist acts, and it appears that the aim of the trials is to instill fear in residents to strengthen social control. (Kang Ji-won)

On July 17, a reporting partner residing in North Korea said during a telephone call with ASIAPRESS,

"I heard from a police officer that crowd trials are being carried out across the country and that one will be held soon in ●● City, where I live. On June 29, two men and two women were put on a crowd trial in Rason City."

What is North Korea’s crowd trial?

A crowd trial is a way of judging and executing criminals according to the 'political agenda' of the authorities, rather than provisions stipulated in the constitution and laws. The purpose is to create a sense of fear among as many residents as possible. It is characterized by the gathering of a crowd and is held in provinces, cities, towns, and villages all around the country. Although the reporting partners also mentioned the terms ‘mass trial’ and ’public trial’, North Koreans generally use all of these words to refer to the same thing.
Next page: Mobilization in local communities and the workplace...