July 8, 1994. Kim Jong-il succeeds his father Kim Il-sung as the Supreme Leader of The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He also becomes the president of the National Defence Commission. Initially, he came to power as part of a triumvirate but in 1998 he amended the North Korean constitution, making himself the “supreme leader” of North Korea.
Kim Jong-il inherited from his father a dictatorship that was already being criticised around the world for its cruelty and human rights record. Kim perpetuated, and arguably aggravated North Korea’s domestic situation and foreign affairs, establishing himself, as his father had done before him, as the centre of a personality cult. Human Rights Watch said of North korea in 2004 that “virtually every aspect of political, social, and economic life is controlled by the government.”