Catholic University’s Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) held an open screening on April 3 of “Kimjongilia,” a documentary film about human rights violations in North Korea under the long and autocratic reign of the late President Kim Il-sung and his family successors.
A powerful and unsettling film, the documentary traced the use of such tools as propaganda, forced labor camps, the splitting up of families, and summary executions to enforce the obedience of the North Korean people to Kim Il-sung, who ruled the nation unchallenged from its establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994.
Serving at various times as president, prime minister and leader of the communist Workers' Party of Korea, Kim Il-sung established an all-pervasive cult of personality. Schoolchildren were told he could fly and appears in different places at the same time.
Following his death, he was succeeded by his son Kim Jong-il, who in turn was succeeded by his son Kim Jong-un.
After the screening, law school Professor Karla Simon led a discussion on human rights violations in North Korea, how it presents a greater international legal issue and why it is relevant to both law students and the legal community. Simon is an Affiliated Scholar with New York University’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute.
The film was shown for educational purposes, but attendance also satisfied an honors/professional ethics requirement for students.