The penal code is based on the principle of nullum crimen sine lege (no crime without a law), but remains a tool for political control despite several amendments reducing ideological influence.[4] Courts carry out legal procedures related to not only criminal and civil matters, but also political cases as well.[5] Political prisoners are the only ones that have their entire family and themselves are sent to labor camps, while criminal offenders are incarcerated in correctional facilities and prisons. [6]


Article 157 of the Constitution states that "cases are heard in public, and the accused is guaranteed the right to a defense; hearings may be closed to the public as stipulated by law". The lack of judicial independence is also evidenced by Article 11 of the Prosecution Supervisory Law that stipulates "The prosecutor(s) shall supervise whether the trial or arbitration of a case is accurately deliberating and resolving the legal requirements and in a timely manner."[5]


What are some of the amendments made to reduce the ideological influence on the North Korean judiciary? The article on the North Korean judiciary however mentions that it is not independent and that the party can influence the decisions made by the judiciary, but I don't think I understand the argument made, especially the second, because they seem to imply something rather indirectly. However, it does not relate to ideological influence only political influence.

  • 1
    The source for the statement in question is: ""North Korea – A Country Study" (PDF). Library of Congress Country Studies. 2009." loc.gov/item/2008028547 It has 17 pages of references. What do they cite?
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 18, 2023 at 22:24
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    It may be kind of a blanket statement on my part but as I remember reading about the Soviet Union and other Communist dictatorships, it is kind of pointless paying too much attention to what the legal framework claims to say. What happens in practice is what the Party and government wants. For one thing, many countries, Communist or not, have exceptions on holding open trials for national security reasons (nothing untowards here) and those will be interpreted very generously if needed to have closed courts when convenient. Sep 18, 2023 at 23:03

1 Answer 1


I do not believe that such attempts are made.

North Korea developed from a typical Communist state to personal rule. The Ten Principles make it clear that nothing else is desired by the leadership.

  • Wow, all 10 principles refer to Kimmy by name. Nice. Sep 19, 2023 at 7:32
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica, the most recent ones don't. But then, they have to honor the current leader, the father, and the grandfather at various points.
    – o.m.
    Sep 19, 2023 at 14:40

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