Fred and Cindy Warmbier are thankful the court found the government of Kim Jong Un “legally and morally” responsible for their son’s death
We recently reported that the parents of Otto Warmbier, the college student who died after a year of North Korean imprisonment and torture over a stolen propaganda poster, were seeking more than $1 billion in damages from the rogue nation.
A judge has now ruled that the Warmbiers are to receive about half that amount.
An American judge has ruled that Kim Jong Un’s North Korean regime must pay $501 million to the parents of Otto Warmbier after their son died following his time spent in captivity there.
The ruling Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is largely symbolic, though, as it is unlikely North Korea hands over any cash. It comes after Warmbier’s parents sued the Hermit Kingdom for more than $1 billion.
“North Korea is liable for the torture, hostage taking, and extrajudicial killing of Otto Warmbier, and the injuries to his mother and father, Fred and Cindy Warmbier,” Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell wrote in the ruling.
There is some hope that the Warmbeirs will receive some of the monies.
The judgment may be mostly a symbolic victory since North Korea has yet to respond to any of the allegations in court and there’s no practical mechanism to force it do so. But the family may nonetheless be able to recoup damages through a Justice Department-administered fund for victims of state-sponsored acts of terrorism, and may look to seize other assets held by the country outside of North Korea.
Fred and Cindy Warmbier, who are from a suburb of Cincinnati, said they were thankful the court found the government of Kim Jong Un “legally and morally” responsible for their son’s death.
“We put ourselves and our family through the ordeal of a lawsuit and public trial because we promised Otto that we will never rest until we have justice for him,” they said in a statement. “Today’s thoughtful opinion by Chief Judge Howell is a significant step on our journey.”
Meanwhile North and South Korea are moving to an increasingly more peaceful coexistence.
The two Koreas will jointly hold a groundbreaking ceremony, Wednesday, for a project aimed at modernizing and connecting roads and railways across the Demilitarized Zone.
The ceremony will be made possible as the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), despite economic sanctions against the North, has granted sanctions exemptions for the preliminary steps of the joint railway project.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday the UNSC, after approving a feasibility study in November, also granted exemptions for the groundbreaking ceremony.
“We’ve consulted the council’s Sanctions Committee on North Korea, Monday, and settled all relevant issues to proceed with the groundbreaking ceremony,” the ministry said. “This means we can go ahead with the ceremony on Wednesday as scheduled.”
The project is part of a wider push by the Moon Jae-in administration to improve inter-Korean relations and set the stage for large-scale investment in the long term.
It appears the US supports the ceremony, and President Donald Trump sent a message of peace to North Korea out o Twitter.
Christmas Eve briefing with my team working on North Korea – Progress being made. Looking forward to my next summit with Chairman Kim! pic.twitter.com/zPTtDbrP0o
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2018
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