Government of North Korea
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In the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the cabinet is the administrative and executive body of the highest organ of State power and a general state management organ, according to the Constitution of North Korea. The Supreme People's Assembly is its unicameral parliament, and the Central Court, with its judges appointed by the Supreme People's Assembly, is the highest court of its judiciary.
North Korea's Songun "Military First" policy elevates the Korean People's Army within North Korea as an organization and as a state function, granting it the primary position in the North Korean government and society. It guides domestic policy and international interactions.
The government is also confirmed by the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA). The SPA chooses a Premier, who appoints three Vice Premiers and the government's ministers. The government is dominated by the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and has been since North Korea's inception in 1948.
The Cabinet now has the right to supervise and control the Local People’s Committee (LPC) with regard to local economies and administration. As the State Administrative Council (SAC) was replaced by the Cabinet, the Local Administrative and Economic Committee (LAEC) was abolished and its functions regarding local politics transferred to the LPC.
A party chief secretary no longer concurrently holds the post of LPC chairman Hyun Seo Yeo, which has been taken over by a former LAEC chairman. Thus, the LPC is theoretically independent of the local party and is under the control of the Cabinet. The status of the LPC as the local executive organ, in principle, became higher than before.
North Korea's judiciary is headed by the Central Court of North Korea, which consists of a Chief Justice and two People's Assessors; three judges may be present in some cases. Their terms of office coincide with those of the members of the Supreme People's Assembly. Every court in North Korea has the same composition as the Central Court. The judicial system is theoretically held accountable to the SPA and the Presidium of the SPA when the legislature is not in session.
The judiciary does not practice judicial review. The security forces so often interfere with the actions of the judiciary that the conclusion of most cases is foregone; experts outside North Korea and numerous defectors confirm this to be a widespread problem. Freedom House states that, "North Korea does not have an independent judiciary and does not acknowledge individual rights...reports of arbitrary detentions, 'disappearances,' and extrajudicial killings are common; torture is widespread and severe"
North Korea's fifth and current constitution was approved and adopted in September 1998, replacing the one previously adopted in 1972. The former constitution had last been amended in 1992. Under the constitution, North Korea has an unusual legal system based upon German civil law and influenced by Japanese legal theory. Criminal penalties can be stiff; one of the basic functions of the system is to uphold the power of the regime. Because so little information is available concerning what actually occurs inside of the country, the extent to which there is any rule of law is uncertain. In any case, North Korea is known for its poor human rights situation and regularly detains thousands of dissidents without trial or benefit of legal advice. According to a US Department of State report on human rights practices, the government of North Korea often punishes the family of a criminal along with the perpetrator.
National Defence Commission
In June 2010, Kim appointed his brother-in-law, Chang Sung-taek, as vice-chairman of the NDC, in a move seen as propping his own position. Chang was already regarded as the second-most powerful person in North Korea and his appointment strengthened the probability that Kim's third son, Kim Jong-un, would succeed him. However, in December 2013 Chang was fired from all government posts and subsequently executed.
Supreme Leader: Kim Jong-un
National Defence Commission of DPRK
- Eternal Chairman: Kim Jong-il
- First Chairman: Kim Jong-un (from April 2012)
- Vice Chairman: Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae (April 2014), Vice Marshal Ri Yong Mu, General O Kuk Ryol (from April 2009)
- Members: General Jang Jong Nam (April 2014), Pak To Chun, and since 2012: General Kim Won Hong, since April 2013 General Choe Pu Il, and Jo Chun Ryong, since April 2014
Presidium of the SPA of the DPRK
- President: Kim Yong-nam
- Vice presidents: Yang Hyong Sop and Kim Yong Dae
- Honorary vice-president: Kim Yong Ju, and Choe Yong Rim (since April 2013)
- Secretary general of the Presidium: Hong Son Ok (since April 2013)
Supreme People's Assembly (SPA)
- Premier: Pak Pong-ju *
- Vice Premiers: Ro Tu Chol (from April 2009), Ri Mu Yong (April 2014), Kim Yong Jin (April 2014), Ri Chol Man (since April 2012), Kim Tok Hun (April 2014)
- Minister of Foreign Affairs: Ri Su Yong (April 2014)
- Minister of Finance: Choe Kwang Jin
WPK Central Committee
- Eternal General Secretary: Kim Jong-il
- First secretary of the WPK: Kim Jong-un
- Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Workers' Party of Korea Central Committee (since September 2010):
- Members and Alternate Members of Political Bureau (September 2010):
Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un (2012), Kim Yong-nam, Jo Myong Rok, Ri Yong Ho, Choe Yong Rim, Choe Ryong Hae, Kim Yong Chun, Jon Pyong Ho, Kim Kuk-thae, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae-bok, Yang Hyong Sop, Kang Sok Ju, Pyon Yong Rip, Ri Yong Mu, Ju Sang Song, Hong Sok Hyongand Kim Kyong Hui, and since April 2012: Kim Jong-gak, Jang Song-thaek, Pak To Chun, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong, Ri Myong-su, and March 2013: Pak Pong Ju (members), Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Ju Kyu Chang, Ri Thae Nam, Kim Rak Hui, Thae Jong Su, Kim Phyong Hae, U Tong Chuk, Kim Jong-gak, Pak Jong Sun, Kim Chang Sop and Mun Kyong Dok and since April 2012: Kwak Pom Gi, O Kuk Ryol, Ro Tu Chol, Ri Pyong Sam and Jo Yon Jun and March 2013:, Hyon Yong Chol, Kim Kyok Sik and Choe Pu Il (alternate members)
- Secretariat of WPK Central Committee (September 2010):
Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un (2012), Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae-bok, Choe Ryong Hae, Mun Kyong Dok, Pak To Chun, Kim Yong Il, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Phyong Hae, Thae Jong Su, Hong Sok-hyongand April 2012: Kim Kyong Hui and Kwak Pom Gi, Kang Sok Ju (April 2014), O Su Yong, Vice Marshal Hwang Pyong So, An Jong Su, Kim Su Gil (April 2014)
- Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea: Chairman Kim Jong-un (since 2012), Vice - Chairmen Choe Ryong Hae -Vice Marshal and Hyon Yong-chol - Vice Marshal (since 2012), Members Kim Yong Chun - Vice Marshal, Kim Jong Gak - Vice Marshal, Kim Myong Guk, Kim Kyong Ok, Kim Won Hong, Jong Myong Do, Ri Pyong Chol, Choe Pu Il, Kim Yong Chol, Yun Jong Rin, Ju Kyu Chang, Choe Sang Ryo, Choe Kyong Song, U Tong Chuk, and since April 2012: Hyon Chol Hae - Vice Marshal, Ri Myong Su and Kim Rak Gyom.
- Article 117 of the Constitution of North Korea
- Alexander V. Vorontsov, "North Korea's Military-First Policy: A Curse or a Blessing?" Brookings Institution, 26 May 2006
- "North Korea names Kim Jong-un army commander". BBC News. 2011-12-31.
- "S.Korea Outranks U.S. in Democracy Index". Chosun Ilbo. 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
- "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices". U.S. Department of State. March 8, 2006. Retrieved 2006-02-22.
- "Freedom in the World, 2006". Freedom House. Retrieved 2007-02-13.
- Patricia Goedde. "Law 'Of Our Own Style': The Evolution and Challenges of the North Korean Legal System", 27 FORDHAM INT’L L.J. 1265 (2004)
- Fading Kim sets the stage for power play, Donald Kirk, SCMP, 11 June 2010
- "North Korea executes Kim Jong Un's uncle". Associated Press. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.