Kim Jung Il's loathsome legacy includes mass murder at home and abroad. At home, he presided over political killings and government-abetted famines that may have taken two million lives and possibly a great many more. The death toll places him with Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Mao Zedong among history's most notorious mass murderers. Abroad, he is accused of bombings that killed South Korean officials in 1983 and that brought down a South Korean civilian airliner in 1987. This last March, his regime torpedoed a South Korean corvette, consigning another 46 people to death.
Murder was only one of Kim Jung Il's crimes. Human Rights Watch described his system.
There is no organized political opposition, free media, functioning civil society, or religious freedom. Arbitrary arrest, detention,lack of due process, and torture and ill-treatment of detainees remain serious and endemic problems. North Korea also practices collective punishment for various anti-state offenses, for which it enslaves hundreds of thousands of citizens in prison camps, including children. The government periodically publicly executes citizens for stealing state property, hoarding food, and other "anti-socialist" crimes.Human Rights Watch estimates that up to 200,000 North Koreans continue to waste away in the country's concentration camps. North Korea's economy remains in ruins, and its people continue to starve and suffer.
The world's fondest hope should be that Kim Jong Il's death extinguishes Stalinism on the Korean peninsula. Sadly, the gears of the regime's succession appear to be grinding forward.