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Press Release

NIU Law Professor Morse Tan Publishes Critical Examination
of the North Korean Security Threat and Human Rights Atrocities

May 27, 2015

Morse TanDeKalb, Ill.--Northern Illinois University College of Law Professor Morse Tan has announced publication of his new book titled “North Korea, International Law and the Dual Crises: Narrative and Constructive Engagement” by Routledge Press, the world's leading academic publisher in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The book examines North Korea’s long history of human rights violations and the more recent developments in its military arsenal, including cyber-nuclear threats.  

Tan, who is considered one of the world’s leading scholars on North Korea, offers readers a unique and insightful first-hand examination of one of the worst human rights situations in the world, reflecting upon the actions and inactions of North Korea with regard to international security and human rights. An interdisciplinary work exploring political, military, historical and legal aspects, the book delves into how the two issues of security and the human rights abuses in North Korea may be addressed together, and the legal framework applicable to North Korea.

The cover to Morse Tan's book, titled  North Korea, International Law and the Dual Crises: Narrative and Constructive Engagement.Drawing on eyewitness accounts, including refugee and defector testimony, Tan offers a real-life story of North Korea that covers the pertinent law, and constructive approaches to its regime. Tan examines the specific objectives and actions of the North Korean government, and measures these according to international legal obligations such as applicable treaty law, jus cogens norms, and customary international law. 

"Tan's research is impressive, given the dearth, if not inaccessibility, of even basic information from such a hermetically closed system…his ability to marshal cogent facts and political insights…clearly establishes his credentials as a well-informed critic of an opaque and puzzling country”, says Professor James A.R. Nafziger, Thomas B. Stoel Professor of Law and Director of International Programs, Willamette University College of Law.

"Tan has written a thoroughly documented treatment of the North Korean situation in all of its many dimensions. It is an impressive and comprehensive scholarly book on the subject”, confirms Professor David Scheffer, Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor and Director of the Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern University School of Law, and the first U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues (1997-2001).

A Supreme Court Fellowship Finalist, Tan’s scholarship has been received by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the South Korean Ambassador to the U.S. and the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State who led negotiations with North Korea. Tan has served as a peer reviewer for the Human Rights Journal and the International Negotiation Journal with published works in a number of law journals and periodicals.   

At NIU College of Law, Tan teaches courses in International Law, International Criminal Law, International Human Rights, and a North Korean Seminar - as well as serving as Faculty Advisor for the school’s International Law Certificate Program.


For more information, contact:
Melody Mitchell
Alumni Events & Public Relations
(815) 753-9655 or

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