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Judge orders North Korea to pay $501 million to Otto Warmbier’s parents

Judge orders North Korea to pay $501 million to Otto Warmbier’s parents

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.


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The Friendly Grizzly | December 26, 2018 at 9:18 am

Any guesses as to whether this gets paid?

If PDT backs it, it will; if not, it won’t.

How did he arrive at that extra one million?

And of course not a cent of this will ever be paid.

I take it that this judgment is in “default” in this lawsuit, meaning that the defendant failed to file an answer (since there is no information showing otherwise).

A default judgment is fairly fragile. It can be displaced by an answer (even one filed late) in the right circumstances.

That said, it IS a judgment. If left to stand, it is powerful, and it CAN be collected.

Not only that, but it IS very durable. It has a future life, and it hangs over a judgment debtor like the Sword Of Damn-His-Knees.

Half-a-billion dollars is…to paraphrase Sherlock Holmes…”A concentrating sum”. It will attract some real legal talent, and there are some very nice foreign judgment collection laws that will apply all over the globe. Any assets that can be identified CAN be attacked.

    Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | December 26, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Yes and no. When you’re a sovereign entity most of whatever assets you have in foreign jurisdictions will be immune from seizure. Even the PA, which isn’t a state, successfully defended many of its assets, though it did lose quite a few simply because it didn’t know it had them. The PA operates much like a mafia, with each faction and crime-lord hiding its assets from all the others, so there turned out to be significant assets sitting there that the central cortex didn’t know about until the seizure order came. I don’t think North Korea is like that, but who knows?

Kim John Un can expect to be Gaddafied in a sodomy and abortion session by a future administration. American diplomats and security personnel, beware of Obamas, Clintons, and McCains in the wings.

    Kepha H in reply to n.n. | December 26, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    If any leader deserves to be Qaddafied, it is Kim Jongeun. However, I am sure China will not allow such a thing to happen, unless they’re the ones doing it.

Would it be acceptable if Fat Boy pays this judgment in counterfeit $100 bills?

This is where we are as a country.

Where a single federal circuit judge thinks he has the authority to render a judgement against another COUNTRY, and further places the value of one arrogant idiot at $500 million.

    Ragspierre in reply to Olinser. | December 26, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Yeah. Since we became a nation. It’s called “the rule of law”.

      Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | December 26, 2018 at 5:38 pm

      However the USA doesn’t hold itself subject to the courts of any other nation. And I believe it’s the only nation that believes it has the right to hold other nations subject to its courts, even if only to a very limited extent.

Why wasn’t this ruled a suicide? After all, only Dennis Rodman is sure of a warm welcome in the DPRK. At the risk of repeating myself so soon, no one in their right mind willingly goes to North Korea.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to MrSatyre. | December 26, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    He was young and very naive. I agree that he should not have gone to North Korea, still he did not deserve to be tortured and murdered. Kim does.

@Olinser: This is hardly new. Similar judgements against Lybia, Iran and Russia have been ruled in the past.