The Supreme People's Procuratorate yesterday introduced a new system under which local prosecutors will be held responsible for cases within their jurisdiction in an effort to prevent the swarm of cases flooding provincial procuratorates.
Zhao Dengju, vice-procuratorate-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said at a press conference that prosecutors who take up complaints, criminal appeals and criminal compensation cases should remain responsible for them until they are dropped or settled.
Under the new system, delay in forwarding complaints to the relevant departments and in case-handling is warned against.
It also reiterates that delaying revision and correction of cases where mistakes have been made and refusing to handle criminal compensation cases that should be dealt with will not be allowed.
"The obligations of prosecutors should be clarified," said Yao Shigen, responsible for the handling of complaints under the Supreme People's Procuratorate. "Those who deliberately delay the handling of cases, refuse to correct improperly handled cases or who refuse to approve compensation will be investigated and punished."
According to sources with the Supreme People's Procuratorate, details for the implementation of the new system are being drafted and are expected to come out early next year.
Provincial procuratorates have been plagued with heavy caseloads in recent years, among which many are cases that should be handled by their local subordinates but fall into their hands because the complainants do not have confidence in the work of the local procuratorates.
"The heavy caseloads have directly affected the provincial procuratorates' ability to provide overall guidance to their subordinates and to conduct policy studies," said Zhao.
Zhao was confident about the new system, saying it will strengthen the procuratorates' role of supervision as well as improving the quality and efficiency of case-handling and reducing costs.
"Procuratorates are the last line of defense to guarantee the correct implementation of the law," said Zhao. "Their role in maintaining social stability and safeguarding judicial fairness is important."
(China Daily December 25, 2001)