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Full text: New Progress in the Judicial Protection of Human Rights in China

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua

09-12-2016 14:33 BJT

Carry out the pilot program of fast-track sentencing procedure for criminal cases to ensure defendants get speedy trials. In June, 2014, the Decision on Authorizing the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate to Launch the Pilot Program of Fast-Track Sentencing Procedure for Criminal Cases in Certain Areas was issued by the Standing Committee of the NPC. In August, 2014, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate were authorized to launch a pilot program of fast-track sentencing for criminal cases in 18 cities including Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing. It concerns cases involving dangerous driving, traffic offenses, theft, fraud, forcible seizure, personal injury, picking quarrels and making trouble, or any other violation where the circumstances are minor and the accused may be sentenced to imprisonment of not more than one year, criminal detention, control, or a fine. If the facts are clear, the evidence is sufficient, the defendant voluntarily confesses to the crime, and the parties do not dispute the application of law, the relevant procedure shall be simplified, provided that it is in conformity with the basic principles of the Criminal Procedure Law, and the litigation rights of the parties concerned are fully protected.
By 2015, 31,086 criminal cases suitable for the fast-track sentencing procedure were concluded in 212 pilot courts at the primary level nationwide, 33.13 percent of all cases involving imprisonment of not more than one year in the same period in pilot courts at the primary level, representing 15.48 percent of all criminal cases in all courts nationwide. 92.77 percent of these were concluded within 10 days, and the pronouncement rate in court was 95.94 percent; the appeal rate of the plaintiffs with incidental civil action was zero and that of defendants was only 2.13 percent.

Regulate compulsory measures and reduce application of compulsory custodial measures. The Criminal Procedure Law further improved compulsory custodial measures, refined conditions for arrest, defined the social risk criteria of offences and reduced the application of compulsory custodial measures to standardize the application of criminal coercive measures and better protect citizens' rights of personal freedom. In 2014, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and the Ministry of Public Security jointly issued documents to specify who should be notified when there are any changes in the place or time of custody, procedure of custody change, notification procedure and form of delivery, etc. as another attempt to prevent and correct extended custody. The procuratorial organs strictly abide by arrest conditions and procedures prescribed by law, with a view to being prudent when making arrest decisions and reducing the numbers of arrests. In 2015, the procuratorial organs at all levels decided not to arrest 90,086 people suspected of crimes but posing no social danger, and decided not to prosecute 50,787 people accused of minor offenses but not subject to punishment according to law. A review system on the need for custody has been established. After the arrest of criminal suspects and defendants, the people's procuratorate still conducts a review on the necessity of keeping them in custody. If this is not necessary, it would suggest the relevant judicial organs release them or modify the compulsory measures. In 2015, procuratorate organs nationwide advised the release of 29,211 criminal suspects who needed no continued custody or whose compulsory measures be changed.

Improve procedures for juvenile criminal cases to help underage offenders better reintegrate into the society. The Criminal Procedure Law amended in 2012 added a chapter of procedures for juvenile criminal cases in the special procedures section, specifying the principle of "education, persuasion and rehabilitation" for juvenile offenders, sticking to the principle of applying primarily educational measures, and taking punitive sanctions as ancillary means. Judicial organs assign officials who have a good knowledge of the physical and psychological characteristics of minors to handle juvenile cases. The Ministry of Public Security revised the Provisions on the Procedures for Handling Criminal Cases by Public Security Organs, the Supreme People's Procuratorate amended the Rules for the People's Procuratorate's Handling of Criminal Cases Involving Minors, and the Supreme People's Court released a judicial interpretation applicable to the Criminal Procedure Law, further detailing the special protection measures for juvenile offenders. Public security organs at all levels set up special agencies or designated full-time staff to deal with juvenile delinquency in line with special requirements. In 2015 the Supreme People's Procuratorate set up the Procuratorial Office for Juvenile Delinquency. By March, 2016, 12 procuratorates at provincial level, 123 at city level and 893 at primary level had established special independent procuratorial agencies for juvenile delinquency. People's courts are pressing ahead with the building of juvenile courts. By 2015, there were 2,253 juvenile courts and over 7,200 judges of juvenile court nationwide. 

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