North Korea on Saturday rejected the findings of a U.N. panel, which accused the state of crimes against humanity that evoked Nazi-era atrocities, saying they were based on "lies and fabrications deliberately cooked up by hostile forces and riff-raffs."
North Korean security chiefs and even Kim Jong Un should face international prosecution for ordering systematic torture, starvation and killings of its people, U.N. investigators said on Monday in a report.
The unprecedented public rebuke to a head of state by a U.N. commission is likely to further antagonize Kim, but activists and defectors who fled the North including prison camp survivors expressed scepticism that the report will have any impact on the regime.
The North's foreign ministry said it categorically rejects the report by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry, which it said was "set up the U.S. and its satellite forces out of inveterate repugnance towards the DPRK."
DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and the comments were carried by the official KCNA news agency.
The U.N. report is "peppered with sheer lies and fabrications deliberately cooked up by hostile forces and riff-raffs such as some 'elements with ambiguous identities who defected from the north', criminals escaped from it after committing crimes against the country to earn money," it said.
The North's formal rejection of the report comes after the U.N. human rights chief urged world powers to refer the state to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The North's foreign ministry said such a move would be "an extremely dangerous politically motivated provocation aimed to tarnish the image of the dignified DPRK and ramp up pressure on it in a bid to bring down its social system."
Referral to the Hague-based International Criminal Court is seen as unlikely given China's probable veto of any such move in the U.N. Security Council, diplomats have said.
The U.N. investigators said China, which is the North's main ally, might also be "aiding and abetting crimes against humanity" by repatriating defectors back to the country to face torture or execution, a charge that Beijing dismisses.
The U.N. report documented crimes including murder, torture, rape, abductions, starvation and executions perpetrated by the North's security officials who ultimately reported to leader Kim.
North Korea's extermination of political prisoners over the past five decades might amount to genocide, the report said.