Posts tagged ‘miscarriages of justice’

26/02/2015

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.

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16/06/2014

China aims to revamp justice system but Communist Party to retain control | Reuters

Legal reforms are a key platform for President Xi Jinping‘s government to restore popular faith in the Party and judicial system amid simmering public discontent over miscarriages of justice often caused by officialsabuse of power.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the sixth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing June 5, 2014. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool

China must “improve the requirements for appointing justices and prosecutors while upholding the principles of leading party officials and respecting the rule of justice”, an unnamed official in the top office in charge of judicial reforms told the official Xinhua news agency.

It did not say when the pilot programs would be launched.

To limit interference by local governments, provincial governments will pick judges and prosecutors and fix the budgets of local courts and procuratorates, Xinhua reported. The system currently gives local governments greater sway in appointments.

Panels of legal specialists at the provincial level will nominate judges and prosecutors, but the Party must still approve their appointments.

The reforms must “uphold the Party’s leadership,” the official said, signaling a willingness by the central leadership to improve its courts as long as the Party’s overall control is not threatened.

Critics have described the leadership’s call for greater independence for courts as a hollow gesture, because judges ultimately answer to the Party.

via China aims to revamp justice system but Communist Party to retain control | Reuters.

07/05/2013

* China’s Supreme People’s Court judge urges end to wrongful convictions

SCMP: “One of China’s most senior judges has called for an end to miscarriages of justice by the nation’s courts after two cases of wrongful convictions have highlighted inadequacies in its legal system.

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“If more of these wrongful criminal convictions appear, they will become an unprecedented challenge to the People’s Courts,” Shen Deyong, the executive vice-president of the Supreme People’s Court, wrote in the People’s Court Daily on Monday.

The paper is the court’s official mouthpiece.

“It’s preferable to release someone wrongfully, than convict someone wrongfully,” he said. “If a true criminal is released, heaven will not collapse, but if an unlucky citizen is wrongfully convicted, heaven will fall.”

Criminal trials in China had a conviction rate of 99.9 per cent in 2009, according to the latest China Law Yearbook. In recent months, several murder cases have raised public ire against the judicial system.

Zhejiang’s provincial supreme court on March 26 overturned a decade-old death sentence with two-year reprieve and a 15-year prison sentence for two men convicted on murder charges for killing a woman in Hangzhou.

Caixin in April reported on the ordeal of a farmer wrongfully sentenced to death with reprieve in 2008 in Zhecheng, Henan province. Also in Zhecheng, convicted murderer Zhao Zuohai gained prominence in 2010, when his purported victim returned to the village and Zhao’s death sentence had to be overturned.

Last year, Henan started to hold judges responsible for their rulings even after retirement to reduce the number of miscarriages of justice.”

via Supreme People’s Court judge urges end to wrongful convictions | South China Morning Post.

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