Number of death penalty drops on review right retrieval

Updated: 2007-09-06 10:23

The number of death penalty has "remarkably" dropped in China since the Supreme People's Court (SPC) retrieved the review right of death sentence on January 1, according to an SPC senior official.

"As people's courts across China have been strictly controlling and cautiously applying death penalty over the past dozen of years, the number of death penalty kept declining and reached the lowest point last year. In the first half of 2007, the number of death sentences continued to drop compared with the figure a year ago," said Jiang Xingchang, vice president of the SPC.

"Cases of death sentence with a two-year reprieve are similar to or more than the cases of death sentence with immediate execution in some parts of the country in recent years," Jiang said.

After the SPC took back the review right of death penalty, he added, a large proportion of death sentences have not been approved by the SPC in the first seven months of this year.

"Capital penalty is an extremely severe and irretrievable punishment which requires relevant judiciary staff to adopt the most prudent work attitude and stick to the most strict standards to ensure the just final judgement on death penalty cases," said Jiang.

In the process of review for death penalty, some cases need lower-level courts, or even prosecuting organs and police authorities to provide supplement material and evidence. Some cases require police authorities to investigate criminal suspects who are exposed by the accused.

"All the measures serve the principle that each death sentence execution can be tested by history, " said Jiang.

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