China issues guideline to prevent unjust, wrongful judgments

(Xinhua)

16:16, August 15, 2013

BEIJING, Aug. 13 -- After the emergence of several court scandals, China has issued a guideline for the first time to prevent unjust or wrongful judgments.

Issued by the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on its website, the guideline reiterates some legal principles, including those preventing punishment for people whose guilt can not be absolutely established and those stipulating that judges, procurators and police officers will bear "life-long responsibility" for their roles in wrongful judgments.

The guideline also reiterates the articles in the Criminal Procedural Law, which was amended last year, which stipulate that suspect interrogations should be conducted in interrogation rooms in detention houses, with audio or video recordings of the entire process.

When investigative organs transfer a case through the chain of command, all evidence should be transferred, regardless of whether it proves a suspect's guilt or not.

The guideline stresses that for the cases in which there is not enough evidence to prove a suspect's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the court should stick to the principle reserving punishment and pronouncing defendants not guilty, rather than issuing a judgment based on insufficient evidence.

It also urges judicial organs to define the standards for unjust and wrongful judgments and establish a mechanism to pursue the true parties responsible.

The guideline came in response to loud public calls for judicial fairness after the emergence of several prominent wrongful judgments. The latest such case is that of Zhang Hui and his uncle, Zhang Gaoping, in east China's Zhejiang Province.

Zhang Hui was given a death sentence and Zhang Gaoping was sentenced to life in prison by the Hangzhou Municipal Intermediate People's Court on April 21, 2004 for allegedly raping a 17-year-old girl.

Their sentences were later commuted to a death sentence with a two-year reprieve for Zhang Hui and a 15-year prison term for Zhang Gaoping during a second trial conducted by the Higher People's Court of Zhejiang Province on Oct. 19, 2004.

The Higher People's Court acquitted the two of rape on March 26 this year after a retrial found insufficient evidence to support their conviction.

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:ZhangQian、Liang Jun)

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