Pros­e­cu­tors boost court su­per­vi­sion

Im­prove­ments to le­gal sys­tem de­signed to help pre­vent mis­car­riages of jus­tice

China Daily - - CHINA - By ZHANG YAN zhangyan1@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Prose­cut­ing depart­ments will boost su­per­vi­sion of the courts and pub­lic se­cu­rity or­gans to pre­vent mis­car­riages of jus­tice once re­forms of in­ter­nal in­sti­tu­tions are com­plete, the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate said on Thurs­day.

“With ju­di­cial re­forms, we will tighten over­sight of po­lice and judges to avoid mis­judg­ments, and en­able the pub­lic to en­joy fair­ness and jus­tice in every case,” Zhang Jun, procu­ra­tor-gen­eral of the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate, said at a news con­fer­ence.

“Any wrongly judged case not only harms the sus­pects — the de­fen­dants and their fam­i­lies — but also se­ri­ously dam­ages the cred­i­bil­ity of the ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties,” he said.

Data re­leased by the SPP show that in the past five years the num­ber of com­plaints about court rul­ings in crim­i­nal cases has been in­creas­ing by 20 to 30 per­cent an­nu­ally.

Last year, na­tional prose­cut­ing depart­ments ac­cepted 12,930 ap­peals of crim­i­nal cases in which court ver­dicts were not com­plied with.

Among them, pros­e­cu­tors di­rectly lodged protests in 155 cases in ac­cor­dance with su­per­vi­sory proce- dures and sug­gested the courts re­hear an­other 550 cases. Af­ter re­trial, most of the cases in­cluded new sen­tences by the courts.

A typ­i­cal case oc­curred in June, when a 68-year-old from Jiangxi prov­ince was de­clared in­no­cent in a re­trial af­ter serv­ing 19 years in prison.

In Oc­to­ber 1998, two chil­dren in Suichuan county in Jiangxi died af­ter eat­ing poi­soned candy they picked up around their home. A man named Li was iden­ti­fied as the sus­pect, and a year later was con­victed of in­ten­tional homi­cide and sen­tenced to death with a re­prieve of two years by Ji’an In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court.

In 2000, his ap­peal was re­jected by the Jiangxi High Peo­ple’s Court, which up­held the orig­i­nal rul­ing.

Li and his lawyer con­tin­ued to ap­peal to the higher court, based on flaws in the ev­i­dence and the fact that tor­ture was used.

In 2011, af­ter a re­view, the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court or­dered the court in Jiangxi to re­hear the case, but it up­held the orig­i­nal sen­tenc­ing. Li’s fam­ily ap­pealed to the Supreme Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate, which then sug­gested the SPC re­hear the case again.

In July 2017, the top court or­dered an­other re­hear­ing, and in June Li was set free by the Jiangxi court be­cause of lack of ev­i­dence and un­clear facts.

Zhang said the SPP es­tab­lished 10 prose­cut­ing depart­ments to han­dle crim­i­nal, civil, ad­min­is­tra­tive and pub­lic in­ter­est lit­i­ga­tion, as well as duty-re­lated crimes and cases in­volv­ing mi­nors, ef­fec­tively im­prov­ing su­per­vi­sion, ar­rest pro­ce­dures and pros­e­cu­to­rial func­tions.

“Af­ter in­te­grat­ing the depart­ments, we will have ad­justed to the new re­quire­ments of the work and will high­light pro­fes­sion­al­ism and uni­fi­ca­tion of stan­dards,” he said.

Zhang said the SPP will pri­or­i­tize the cre­ation of a long-term mech­a­nism to pre­vent mis­car­riages of jus­tice.

Ac­cord­ing to the SPP, prose­cut­ing depart­ments have car­ried out a pi­lot pro­gram that en­cour­ages po­lice to con­sult with pros­e­cu­tors in com­plex crim­i­nal cases.

In ad­di­tion, they have taken mea­sures to pro­tect the rights of sus­pects, de­fen­dants and their lawyers, it said.

“Jus­tice is the life­line of the rule of law,” Zhang said. “We will care­fully re­view all com­plaints. Once any sign of mis­judg­ment is dis­cov­ered, we will launch fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions.”

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