TOP COURT PLAYS KEY ROLE

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA -

Cases in which the death penalty is handed down in China must be re­viewed by the top court to en­sure the ver­dict is ap­pro­pri­ate and is en­forced with care, a law ex­pert said.

Cheng Lei, an as­so­ciate law pro­fes­sor at Ren­min Univer­sity of China, said the Supreme People’s Court in­tro­duced death penalty re­views in 2007, mean­ing it has the right to de­cide whether a death row in­mate will be ex­e­cuted.

If the top court ap­proves the death penalty, the ex­e­cu­tion will pro­ceed, but if ap­proval is not given the case will be sent back to provin­cial or lo­cal courts for re­trial.

There is no time limit on a re­view, to give suf­fi­cient time for the top court to deal with the death penalty and en­sure it is ap­pro­pri­ate, he said.

The death penalty is some­times not ap­proved be­cause there is in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence or be­cause new facts are found dur­ing the re­view, Cheng said.

Judg­ments where the death sen­tence is handed down with a re­prieve should also be re­ported to provin­cial high people’s courts for re­view, he added.

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