For Putrajaya, the murder of Kim Jong-nam could not have come in a worst-case scenario for the country and its leadership, certainly not in the run-up to the third anniversary of the MH370 disappearance and considering it might be an election year in Malaysia.
But Malaysia is moving forward, albeit slowly, in building a court case for the murder of Kim Jong-nam, a crime committed on its soil.
Though the crime is now attributed to two foreign women, who acted in what local police says with knowledge of the harm they would cause to the victim, and the victim is a foreign national too, Malaysia has the responsibility to pursue the case by due process.
Speaking to an expert in international law, The Independent was told that Malaysia’s claims that it has to legally identify the body of Kim is perfectly legitimate, though it might seem out of place for the North Korean regime.
“Malaysia has to identify the body without any doubt, in order to build a case. This is important for the court case,” the lawyer said.
When asked whether Malaysia should return the body to North Korea, as Pyongyang remained so far the only claimant that wanted to retrieve the body from Malaysia, the lawyer said: “No! The family has first right. And sending the body to North Korea may jeorpardize the court proceedings
“The North Koreans may claim in a second autopsy of their own, that the victim died of heart attack.”
The lawyer further said the is no legal time frame for the family to claim the body, hence Malaysia might take its time to decide what to do next with the dead victim.
The lawyer also said Malaysia will probably let off the other 2 persons who are said to be hiding in the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
That may calm the tension between the two countries, tension that escalated this week with both nations prohibiting the citizens of the respective nations from leaving their countries.
But the focus will be on the “two poor girls who will be the sacrificial lambs and who might be found guilty” – in a case where the penalty maybe the death sentence by hanging.
“Then quietly diplomatic relations will continue and it will business as usual between North Korea and Malaysia,” said the lawyer.