China outlines measures to prevent wrongful judgments
Updated: 2013-09-07 06:40
BEIJING - China's Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) has outlined measures to prevent wrongful and unjust judicial decisions.
The country's top procuratorate urged lower procurating bodies to guard against wrongful judgments, according to a SPP circular on preventing unjust judgments publicized on Friday.
The strictest evidence standards should be applied in cases in which the death sentence can be imposed, the circular said.
Criminal suspects should not be convicted if there is no other evidence aside from the suspect's own confessions, according to the document.
Suspects involved in major bribery cases should be guaranteed their rights to meet with their lawyers, it said.
The SPP also prohibited the extortion of confessions by means of torture, threats or enticement.
To prevent illegal evidence-gathering methods, the circular said all interrogations should be recorded using audio or video devices.
The SPP ordered enhanced supervision on the review of death sentence cases, saying the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" should be upheld in cases where there is not sufficient evidence to convict the suspects.
Prosecutors will have to bear lifelong responsibility for their roles in wrongful judgments, according to the circular.
China issued its first guidelines to prevent unjust or wrongful judgments last month.
The guidelines, issued by the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, reiterate several legal principles, including those preventing punishment for people whose guilt cannot be absolutely established.
The moves came in response to increased public calls for judicial fairness after several wrongful judgment scandals emerged.
Zhang Hui and his uncle, Zhang Gaoping, both residents of East China's Zhejiang province, were sentenced to death and life in prison, respectively, in 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.
The two were acquitted of rape in March of this year after a retrial found insufficient evidence to support their convictions.