wednesday, 22 april of 2015

China Jury Trial Plan Would Appoint Citizens to Help Weigh Cases

China will appoint citizens to help judges decide some local court cases, in the Communist Party’s broadest yet experiment with jury trials.

The nation’s highest court has submitted a legislative proposal to create “people’s juries” in 50 courts across 10 provinces, the official Xinhua News Agency said Monday. The jurors would be selected every five years from local residents older than 28 years, according to a summary of the proposal posted on the website of the Supreme People’s Court.

Courts that participate in the system must use the jurors for cases involving crimes that carry prison sentences of 10 years or longer, according to the proposal.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made legal reforms a priority as he seeks to institutionalize his anti-corruption campaign and follow up on the party’s 2013 pledge to give the market a decisive role in the economy. The jury proposal would replace a little-used system set up in 2005 that relied on citizens to apply for juror posts.

Trials in China are tightly controlled affairs in which appointed judges are overseen by party-run politics and law committees. The jury proposal follows a party plan mapped out in October to bolster the role of the courts and protect judges from official interference.

The experiment could enhance public confidence in the judicial system and give the courts more credibility, Xinhua said. No timetable was given for the plan, which must be approved by the National People’s Congress, the country’s legislature.

(Published by Bloomberg – April 20, 2015)

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