China / Society

Closed trial likely for ex-PLA officer

By Cao Yin (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-02 07:41

Hearing could involve military secrets; verdict to be announced

A case involving a former senior military officer might not be held in public, a legal expert said in an article published in the People's Liberation Army Daily on Tuesday.

Gu Junshan, the former deputy head of the General Logistics Department of the PLA, has been charged with embezzlement, bribery, misuse of State funds and abuse of power, the military procuratorate said on Monday.

The prosecutors have filed the charge to the military court, the PLA Daily report said.

The court will hear the case in private, since it may involve discussion of military secrets, such as production and procurement of logistics equipment in the army, said Yu Xiao, a legal expert in the army.

Under the Chinese Criminal Procedure Law, cases related to State secrets, including military ones and those involving litigants' privacy, are not allowed to be heard in public, Yu said, adding it is also an international judicial practice.

But the verdict of the case will be disclosed and the court should give reasons to the public for hearing the trial privately, Yu said.

Although Gu's case might not be held in public, that does not mean it will be heard secretly, the report said. All legal procedures must be strictly enforced and supervised by prosecuting authorities and courts at a higher level, it added.

Meanwhile, the court will complete a review and accept the case within seven days in accordance with the law and deliver copies of its indictment to the defendant and his lawyers 10 days ahead of the first trial date, the report said.

The judgment of a common criminal case should be announced within two months after a court files it under the law, but Gu's case, which is said to be important and complicated, can be extended to three months if the higher military court permits, the report said.

The military court can also set up a collegiate bench to solicit opinions on legal procedures from both parties before the trial, Yu said in the report.

As a judicial apparatus in the army, the military court, which is under supervision of China's top court, hears cases of soldiers and officers under the law, the report said, adding that this is also a popular practice in the world.

"The army cannot be a hiding place for corruption, and Gu's case will be an important practice for constructing the legal system in the PLA," Yu said.

"The investigation and upcoming trial of Gu also show judicial power, which will leave an active and far-reaching impact of the crackdown on graft in the army," Yu added.

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