Ethan Shin, one of the report's authors, told AFP that "it looks like the number of public executions is on a downward trend", but that Pyongyang may simply be operating with more secrecy "as it seeks recognition as a normal state".
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"But the second and more powerful reason is it instills a culture of fear among ordinary people", she continued.
The youngest person to witness a public killing was seven years old, according to testimony.More news: Celebs arrive in style for Sonam Kapoor Ahuja`s birthday celebrations
"Since 2005, public hangings are reported to have ceased or at least decreased markedly in frequency, with some attributing this shift to worldwide pressure to end the practice", the report said.
"Public executions are to remind people of particular policy positions that the state has", research director at TJWG Sarah A. Son said.
South Korea's Korea Institute for National Unification, a state-sponsored think-tank, expressed similar views on its annual white paper on North Korea's human rights released last week.
The report said a four-point joint statement signed by Trump and Kim on June 12 a year ago pledging to work towards a new relationship "is in danger of being a blank sheet of paper because the U.S.is turning a blind eye to its implementation".More news: Azim Premji, India's second-richest man, to retire
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves as he prepares to leave Vietnam by train after a two day official visit preceded by the DPRK-USA Hanoi summit, on March 2, 2019 in Dong Dang, Vietnam.
Following a provocative run in nuclear and missile tests, Kim initiated diplomacy with Washington and Seoul in 2018 in attempting to leverage his arsenal for economic and security benefits. US and South Korean officials have blamed the attack on North Korea, which it denies.
Most victims were executed by firing squad, but hangings were also reported. Public executions are nearly always preceded by brief "trials" on the spot where charges are announced and sentences are issued without legal counsel for the accused, the report said. Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law. With a lack of due process in the North's judicial system, it's unclear whether the charges announced at the executions would actually match the act of the accused, the report said.
The report alleges that family members of those sentenced to death, including children, were sometimes forced to watch the event. It said the new report is better sourced, based on accounts of direct witnesses or those who heard from direct witnesses and were able to provide geographic information of the sites.More news: Kim Kardashian shares first photo of son Psalm West