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Justice based on evidence

China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-23 07:28

Justice based on evidence

A gavel in a court. [Photo/IC]

The Supreme People's Court issued a guideline on Tuesday requiring courts at all levels to base their rulings on sound evidence and promote the establishment of an effective mechanism to prevent and correct miscarriages of justice.

The overturning of wrongful convictions in some major cases in recent years has demonstrated the judicial authorities' courage in facing up to judicial errors, but their occurrence is evidence of the serious problems that have long existed in the country's judicial system, such as putting a suspect's verbal confession before the physical evidence, not paying enough attention to their rights, or paying no respect to their defense, all of which are a result of traditional procedural practices centered on investigations by the police. The new reform aims to push for procedural practices centered on judges.

In October last year, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security jointly issued a document stressing the need to respect people's rights, and base verdicts on sound evidence and in accordance with the law. The latest guideline from the nation's top court marks a concrete step toward the implementation of this principle. For example, the guideline stipulates that courts should review the legality of the evidence to be submitted before hearing a case and they are not allowed to continue with a case if the evidence has been collected in an improper manner.

To promote justice, any verdict should be based on the facts and sound evidence rather than suspicions, insufficient evidence and expediency.

At the same time, forced confessions have proven one of the main reasons for past miscarriages of justice and thus should be strictly forbidden. Hopefully, the series of measures introduced by the judicial authorities, including the latest Supreme People's Court's guideline, represent concrete and substantial efforts to ensure justice is done in all cases.--Beijing Youth Daily

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