Archive for ‘law enforcement’


China’s top court unveils deadlines for legal reform | Reuters

China’s top court set a five-year deadline on Thursday for legal reforms to protect the rights of individuals, prevent miscarriages of justice and make its judiciary more professional as the ruling Communist Party seeks to quell public discontent.

Zhou Qiang, President of China's Supreme People's Court, attends National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, March 7, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

A statement on the Supreme Court’s website promised specific deadlines for each goal, including support for a “social atmosphere of justice” by 2018.

It gave more details of a decision reached at a four-day meeting last year, when the party pledged to speed up legislation to fight corruption and make it tougher for officials to exert control over the judiciary.

Despite the legal reforms, Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s administration has shown no interest in political change and has detained dozens of dissidents, including lawyers.

China’s top court stressed that one of the five basic principles of legal reform was adhering to the party’s leadership and “ensuring the correct political orientation”.

He Xiaorong, the director of the Supreme People’s Court‘s reform division, said the court “would make officials bear responsibility for dereliction of duty” for cases that have a wide impact.

“Only through the establishment of such a system can we ensure that we can guarantee social fairness and justice in every case,” He told a news conference, according to a transcript on the court’s website.

The measures reflect worries about rising social unrest. Anger over land grabs, corruption and pollution – issues often left unresolved by courts – have resulted in violence between police and residents in recent years, threatening social order.

via China’s top court unveils deadlines for legal reform | Reuters.


China orders compensation to acquitted death row prisoner | Reuters

A court in China’s southern city of Fuzhou ordered compensation of 1.14 million yuan ($182,000) to a former death row prisoner who was acquitted on charges of poisoning two children, state media said on Tuesday.

The rare acquittal of Nian Bin, a former food stall owner who was freed in August after a court in Fujian province found there was insufficient evidence, prompted renewed calls for the abolition of the death penalty in China.

Nian, 39, was accused of poisoning his neighbors with rat poison, leading to the death of two children and injuries to four others in July 2006.

But he said he was tortured into confessing during police interrogations and had pursued his appeals for years, an effort closely watched by human rights lawyers in China and global rights groups.

He was convicted several times and spent 8 years in prison before being acquitted.

The intermediate court made the ruling on Sunday, and on Tuesday announced that Nian “should be paid 589,000 yuan for loss of personal freedom and another 550,000 yuan for mental suffering,” the official Xinhua news agency reported.

China’s ruling Communist Party has said it aims to prevent “extorting confessions by torture” and halt miscarriages of justice with a “timely correction mechanism”, after a series of corruption investigations involving torture outraged the public.

via China orders compensation to acquitted death row prisoner | Reuters.


India’s Courts Resist Reform; Backlog at 31.4 Million Cases – Businessweek

Puneet Mittal, trim and sharply dressed, walks into the lobby of his law office in affluent South Delhi, a smartphone pressed to his ear. He turns to a recently hired associate, Bhavesh Verma. “We’re leaving at 9:30. And I don’t want to waste time.” But through no fault of his own, that’s just what Mittal’s going to do.

India’s Supreme Court

He is making his daily plunge into India’s court system, a maze of delays and procedures that puts even the most basic justice out of reach for millions. At the end of 2013, there were 31,367,915 open cases working their way through the system, from the lowest chambers to the Supreme Court. If the nation’s judges attacked their backlog nonstop—with no breaks for eating or sleeping—and closed 100 cases every hour, it would take more than 35 years to catch up, according to Bloomberg Businessweek calculations. India had only 15.5 judges for every million people in 2013, then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at the time. The U.S. has more than 100 judges for every million.

Beneath a top layer of established attorneys such as Mittal, the courts are plagued by “goondas in black,” a phrase that pairs the Hindi word for “goons” with a sly reference to the black suit jackets lawyers wear in court. To keep collecting fees, these lawyers demand one hearing after another, with no intention of seeking a resolution for their clients, says Alok Prasanna Kumar, senior resident fellow at the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, which advocates for a more efficient system. Or, he says, they resort to extortion to make up for a lack of income. A “significant number” of the lawyers, especially outside the capital, have practices that don’t sustain them. That leads them to clog the system with pointless litigation: “The bar in India is in a very bad shape,” Kumar says.

In 2013 there were 31,367,915 open cases in India, from the lowest courts to the Supreme Court

Even the best attorneys can have low-stakes lawsuits last a decade or more. New Delhi lawyer Murari Tiwari describes one 20-year property dispute: His original client has died, as has one of his sons. While the case crawls through the courts, Tiwari says, the two families in litigation, one including an auto-rickshaw driver and the other a retired policeman, live on opposite sides of the same building in an icy détente.

via India’s Courts Resist Reform; Backlog at 31.4 Million Cases – Businessweek.


China considers abolishing death penalty for nine crimes | Reuters

China is considering trimming nine crimes from the list of offences punishable by death, state media said on Monday, as the ruling Communist Party considers broader reforms to the country’s legal system.

Rights groups say China uses capital punishment more than any other country, raising public concern of irreversible miscarriages of justice.

A draft amendment to China’s criminal law, which includes the use of the death penalty, was submitted for initial review to the country’s National People’s Congress, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Crimes that would be exempt from capital punishment under the amendment include “smuggling weapons, ammunition, nuclear materials or counterfeit currencies; counterfeiting currencies; raising funds by means of fraud; and arranging for or forcing another person to engage in prostitution”, Xinhua said.

The crimes of “obstructing a commander or a person on duty from performing his duties” and “fabricating rumors to mislead others during wartime”, are also under review, the news agency said.

Officials had previously said that China would review the application of the death penalty, which applies to 55 offences, including fraud and illegal money-lending.

China guards the number of people executed every year as state secrets.

The San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation, which seeks the release of political prisoners in China, estimated that 2,400 people were executed in 2013. By comparison, 39 people were executed in 2013 in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

The reduction in death penalty crimes, however, is not expected to greatly reduce the number of executions per year, scholars have said.

The Communist Party, worried about rising social unrest and anger over land grabs, corruption and pollution unveiled legal reforms aimed at improving judicial independence at a key meeting last week.

The Party has stressed that it will remain in overall control of the judiciary, and despite the move to implement legal reforms, few analysts expect significant political change any time soon.

via China considers abolishing death penalty for nine crimes | Reuters.


* China tells police to go nationwide with vice crackdown | Reuters

China’s government told police across the country to get tough on prostitution, gambling and drugs following an expose in the “sin city” of Dongguan, where a crackdown on prostitution led to the detention of nearly 1,000 people this month.

The announcement, on the Ministry of Public Security‘s official website late on Monday, said investigations had begun in several provinces, and police had broken up 73 vice rings and closed down 2410 prostitution and gambling dens over the past week.

China outlawed prostitution after the Communist revolution in 1949, but it returned with a vengeance following landmark economic reforms three decades ago, and has helped fuel a rise in HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Gambling is also banned in China with the exception of heavily regulated state-sanctioned lotteries.

While periodic sweeps against vice have been carried out, it has thrived. Law enforcement is often lax.

In a warning to what the authorities call the “protective umbrella” of official collusion, the ministry said officials would be “seriously investigated, and crimes will be resolutely investigated in accordance with the law”.

via China tells police to go nationwide with vice crackdown | Reuters.

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Police drill realizes 9-year-old’s dream – CHINA –

In order to fulfill a 9-year-old disabled schoolboy\’s dream of being a police officer, local police and residents in Xinyu, Jiangxi Province, simulated a hostage situation on Saturday.

However, critics have said that the move used public resources to allow the local police department to show off.

The 30-minute exercise was held at a square near a supermarket in Xinyu, at noon on Saturday. In the drill, two robbers kidnapped three people, and demanded the police send a car and 1 million yuan ($165,200) in cash.

During the standoff, a robber asked the boy, who was in a wheelchair, to send water to him. He first requested the boy drink some of the water and the boy obliged him.

When he passed the water to the robber, a policeman pushed the wheelchair and subdued the robber. Another thief was also caught by police, the Web publicity center under the Xinyu Party committee publicity department told the Global Times on Sunday.

The boy, Zou Junyi, was awarded the medal \”brave little police officer\” by Xinyu Mayor Cong Wenjing at the scene.

Before participating in the exercise, the boy visited the local police training camp and experienced the work of traffic police on the same day, Ao Weibing, the director of the center, told the Global Times. Zou said that the police did not spend any money on these activities, except to make a small uniform for Zou.

Zou suffers from muscular dystrophy, with the symptoms presenting since he was 6 years old. He lost the ability to walk in December, Zou\’s mother, Chen Qingmei, told the Global Times, adding that her family has spent about 500,000 yuan to treat the disease and can not spend any more.

\”Our family was touched. These special experiences can help my son build his confidence to fight the disease and overcome difficulties,\” Chen said.

Ao learned about the boy\’s dream when he visited him in December, and decided then that he wanted to find a way to help.

The drill was inspired by a US case in which 7,000 people in San Francisco, including the city mayor, helped 5-year-old leukemia patient Miles Scott make his wish – Batkid saves city – come true in November, according to Ao.

via Police drill realizes 9-year-old’s dream – CHINA –

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‘Caged parrot’ hopes to get wings in New Year – The Hindu

The probe into coal block allocation scam, which got CBI the sobriquet of “caged parrot” from the Supreme Court and saw the exit of Law Minister Ashwani Kumar over his alleged interference, marked the agency’s functioning during a tumultuous year for it.

A view of CBI headquarters in New Delhi. File photo: Sandeep Saxena

The passage of the Lokpal Bill by Parliament this year is likely to bring a major change in the working of CBI since the Supreme Court order in the Vineet Narain case in 1997 which had brought in the supervision of Central Vigilance Commission and gave CBI chief a fixed tenure of two years aimed at freeing the agency from the clutches of bureaucracy.

The angry comments of the apex court not only claimed the ministerial scalp of Mr. Kumar but also set in motion the modalities for the autonomy of the agency, which according to Supreme Court, has become “voice of its political masters”.

The battered government scrambled its best brains in the Cabinet to constitute a group of ministers, which met a number of times, and came up with suggestions to give only “functional autonomy” to the agency.

The financial powers of the CBI Director were given a significant boost but Centre did not agree to give him rank and powers on par with the Secretary of the government of India.

The proposed Lokpal will have powers to refer cases to CBI and keep an eye on the ongoing probe. It will also have powers to transfer officers who will be probing cases referred by it.

via ‘Caged parrot’ hopes to get wings in New Year – The Hindu.

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