North Korea held at least three public executions of people charged with cannibalism in recent years, Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday.
The agency said, citing information from the Korea Institute for National Unification, that some North Koreans ate and sold human flesh during the massive famine in the late 1990s, which according to various estimates resulted in some two million deaths.
The institute said in a paper, citing an unidentified defector, that in December of 2009 a man was publicly executed in the northeastern North Korean city of Hyesan for killing a girl and eating her flesh.
In 2006, a father and his son were also shot dead in the eastern town of Doksong after they were found guilty of cannibalism.
The institute also reported an account of cannibalism in the northeastern town of Musan in 2011, but did not say whether any punishment followed.