TOP COURT PLAYS KEY ROLE
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.