The United Nations Security Council is set to meet for the first time to talk about the allegations of "unspeakable atrocities" being conducted by the North Korean regime.

The council, made of 15 members including Britain, the US, China and Russia, will see powers discuss whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-un should be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for "crimes against humanity".

The meeting comes after an UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) published in February which accused Pyongyang of a number of crimes that constituted "grave human rights violations".

In response to the call for a meeting, the US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said it was time that North Korea was scrutinised by the global body.

"The human rights violations in North Korea are among the worst in the world. They are widespread. They are systematic," said Power.

"Given the threat they pose to peace and security, they have been going on outside the scrutiny of the UN Security Council for far too long," she added.

Michael Kirby, chairman of the commission, said the crimes catalogued in its report - which included murder, torture, rape, abductions, enslavement, starvation and executions - were similar to those committed by Nazis during World War Two.

"Now the international community does know. There will be no excusing a failure of action because we didn't know. It's too long now. The suffering and the tears of the people of North Korea demand action," Kirby said after the report's publication.