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Provisions on Achieving Prevention of Unjust, False and Wrongfully Decided Cases

Provisions on Achieving Prevention of Unjust, False and Wrongfully Decided Cases

(Central Political-Legal Committee Doc. [2013] no. 27) 22 August 2013

The following provisions on strict compliance with legal procedural systems and resolutely upholding the bottom line of preventing unjust, false and wrongfully decided cases are hereby made so as to fully implement the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping and Comrades Meng Jianzhu and Guo Shengkun's important instructions; and so as to fully implement and put into practice the spirit of the Central Political-legal Commission's Fourth Plenary Session, and to punish crime in accordance with law, to respect and protect human rights, to increase the credibility of the judiciary, and to preserve social fairness and justice.

1. Interrogation of criminal suspects or defendants shall be conducted at designated case-handling forums, except in emercency situations where interrogation must occur on the scene. After a suspect has been delivered for detention in a detention center, interrogation shall be conducted in the detention center's interrogation room and the entire process shall be simultaneously video or audio recorded. The investigating organ must not propose conducting an interrogation outside of the detention center for the purpose of recovering stolen goods or making an identification.

2. When the investigating organs transfer a case, all evidence demonstrating the suspect or defendant's guilt or innocence and the severity of the crime shall be transferred. Concealing or fabricating evidence is strictly prohibited.

3. Where evidence that should be excluded is discovered during the investigation, review for indictment or trial, it shall be excluded in accordance with law and must not be a basis for requesting the approval of an arrest, approving or deciding on on arrest, transferring to be reviewed for indictment, making a decision to indict or a verdict. Where torture or other illegal methods wer employed to coerce a supect or defendant's confession or where violence, threats or other illegal methods were employed to collect witness testimony or victims' statements, it must not serve as the basis for a verdict.

4. People's procuratorates conduct oversight of whether investigative activities were lawful in accordance with law, and promptly submit opinions and recommendations on the gathering, fixing and improving of evidence; and when necessary, appoint prosecutors to pariticipate in the investigative organs' discussion of major cases and re-examine or re-inspect places, objects, persons and bodies associated with the crime.

5. People's procuratorates strictly protect the thresholds of review for arrest, review for indictment and prosecutorial appeals; in cases where the statutory requirements for arrest or indictment are not met, make a decision to not approve arrest or not prosecute in accordance with law; in cases elligible for a prosecutorial appeal, especially where a not-guilty verdict was given to a guilty-person or vice-versa, or in cases where a sentence was excessively light or excessively harsh, raise a prosecutorial appeal in accordance with law.

6. Adhere to the principle of evidence-based judgments. Where a witness who should appear in court to testify in accordance with law refuses to appear or appears in court but refuses to testify without a valid reason, so that the court has no way to confirm the veracity of their testimony, that witness's testimony must not be used as a basis of a verdict. Evidence that has not been verified through courtroom investigtation procedures such as presentation, identification and examination, must not be the basis of a verdict.

7. Strictly enforce statutory evidentiary standards. Where there is only a defendant's confession and no other evidence, it cannot be found that the defendant is guilty or a penalty given. The principal of not punishing in cases-in-doubt should be adhered to in cases where the evidence is insufficient to reach a verdict, and the law should be followed to announce that the defendant is not-guilty; a judgment that 'leaves room for error' should not be handed down. In cases where evidence for conviction is credible and sufficient, but evidence impacitng sentencing is still in question, it shall be handled in a way beneficial to the defendant at sentencing.

8. People's courts, people's procuratorates, and public security organs handling criminal cases must have facts as their basis and the law as their measure, and a rulings or decisions contrary to law must not be made due to pressures such as from tumultuous public opinon, parties and their families petitioning and the need to quickly break the case or local stability.

9. Truly ensure lawyers' defense rights such as meeting clients, reading case files investigating and gathering evidence, and asking questions, examing evidence and debating at court. People's courts, people's procuratorates, and public security organs shall hear the opinions of the defense attorney at transitions such as the conclusion of investigation, the review for indictment and the final review of death sentences. As to explanations or defense opinions and evidentiary materials provided by the defendant and his defender, the people's courts should seriously review them and explain the reason for accepting them or not in the judgment documents.

10. The people's procuratorates and people's courts shall promptly review accusations and complaints where there might truly be a mistake or injustice. Where upon review it is found that a judgment or ruling is truly in error, a prosecutorial appeal or retrial should be raised (requested). People's procuratorates follow statutory procedures to proptly correct truly erroneous decisions on criminal disposition from that procuratorate or those below it.

11. Prisons or other agencies enforcing criminal penalties must not withhold appeals, accusations or reports put forth by a convict, but should promptly transfer or submit them to the relevant organ for handling. The relevant organ should earnestly review and promptly handle them, and also promptly notify the prison or other enforcement organ of the outcome. Apeals, accusations or reports put forth by convicts do not impact commutation or parrole.

12. Establish and complete a unified case-handling system for collegial panels, independently presiding judges, procurators, and people's police; judges procurators and people's police have life-long responsibility for the quality of cases within the scope of their professional duties. The relevant laws and regulations are followed to pursue responsibility for the unlawful case-handling conduct of judges, procurators and people's police.

Clarify standards for unjust, false and wrongly decided cases and procedures and substance for initiating corrections; establish and complete mechanisms for pursuing responsibility in unjust, false and wrongfully decided cases. Sternly investigate conduct such as the use of torture to extract confessions, use of violence to collect evidence or the concealment or falsification of evidence, in accordance with law.

14. Establish and complete performance review systems for case handling that are scientific, reasonable, and conform to judicial discipline, they cannot solely pursue indexes such as the case-breaking, arrest, indictment or conviction rates.

15. Political-legal commissions at all levels shall support the people's courts and people's procuratorates lawful, independent and just exercise of adjudication rights and prosecution rights, and support all political-legal work units in following the constitution and laws to take independent responsibility and coordated effort ifor developing their work. Cases where the facts are not clear and the evidence insufficient are not to be harmonized; when coordinating cases, generally do not make specific comments on cases' designation or substantive disposition when harmonizing cases.

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