Court hails penalty review a success
Updated: 2007-06-10 09:32 China's chief justice has hailed the decision to
return the right of review of all death penalty rulings to the Supreme People's
Court a success six months after the regulation was passed, saying it was
"neither too severe nor too lenient".
On Jan. 1, 2007, the Supreme
People's Court (SPC) retrieved the right to review all death penalty decisions
made by lower courts, ending its 24-year absence in approving China's execution
"(Since then) executions have been justifiably exercised, the
policy has been properly carried out and there has been no social unrest as a
result of this matter," said Chief Justice Xiao Yang when addressing local
justices in southern Guangdong province.
"The decrease of the country's
crime rate since January indicates that our efforts to be more careful when
handing out the death penalty have yielded good results," said Xiao.
China's chief justice, I have been so worried (about the legal change) in the
six months that all food became unpalatable to me."
Xiao also called on
provincial courts to double-check evidences that are used to hand down death
penalty, because it "lays the basis for SPC's final review."
case, whenever there is a doubt about whether execution is the appropriate
penalty, we should always be ready to drop it," Xiao added.
year, Xiao urged "extreme caution" in handing down death sentences, saying
"capital punishment should be given only to an 'extremely small number' of
Figures from the Beijing No 1 and No 2 intermediate
people's courts suggest that, in the first five months of 2007, the number of
death sentences dropped 10 percent from last year.
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