Tougher supervision of death sentences
The country's top prosecuting department has set up a new internal branch to supervise the reviews of death sentences that have been submitted to the top court for approval, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate on Wednesday.
Before sentencing a person to death, a court must gain approval from the SPP, which reviews each case to ensure there are no mistakes.
"We are strengthening the legal supervision of the death penalty review," Ye Feng, director of the death sentence review examination department under SPP said.
"Therefore, we can gradually improve the quality and efficiency of the handling of such cases to make sure the death penalty is accurate and free of mistakes".
According to the SPP, the new department has five main functions, which include putting forward proposals for the death penalties which are under examination by the top court; analyzing and researching the review results; giving guidance to provincial prosecuting departments to examine death sentences, and conducting research into the application of the death penalty policy and its standard for handling such cases.
According to the national criminal procedure law, during the death penalty review session, the top prosecuting department can put forward opinions to the top court, which will take them into account when conducting their own review.
"Before this, the top prosecuting department hardly played its supervision role because the top court didn't have normal court hearings for those submitted death cases," Chen Weidong, law professor from People's University of China, said.
"After the revised criminal procedure law took effect in January, the top prosecuting department set up the new department to have the power to conduct supervision and push forward suggestions in relation to any problem found in death penalty reviews," he said.
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