UN rights panel challenges North Korea over 'slander' claim
SEOUL (AFP) - The head of a UN inquiry into human rights in North Korea challenged Pyongyang on Monday to back its allegation that testimony gathered by his commission in Seoul amounted to "slander".
The three-member Commission of Inquiry chaired by retired Australian judge Michael Kirby has just wrapped up hearing five days of often harrowing testimony in the South Korean capital - mostly from North Korean defectors.
North Korea on Friday condemned the hearings as an exercise in "slander" that could set back a recent thaw in cross border-relations with the South.
The North, which strongly denies allegations of rights abuses, has refused to recognise the commission and barred its members from visiting the country - a stance that Mr Kirby suggested blunted the credibility of its criticism.