China will amend its Criminal Procedural Law, including the contents concerning procedures for review of death sentences and custody system in accordance with the spirit of the newly revised Constitution and some newly signed international conventions.
Huang Songyou, vice-president of the Chinese Supreme People's Court, made the announcement during the 2004 annual conference of the China Law Society held in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, from October 10 through 13.
The main topic of discussion at the conference was the amendment of the criminal, civil and procedure laws.
Amendment of the Criminal Procedure Law is included in the legislature plan of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC).
Originally enacted in 1979, China's Criminal Procedure Law was given a major overhaul in 1996.
Huang stated that the law is in need of substantial further revisions because China has now signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It has also included a human rights clause in the Constitution.
According to the current Criminal Procedure Law, cases involving the death penalty must be submitted to the Supreme People's Court for review and approval. However, in most cases, the court merely reads written reports of the cases rather than hearing evidence and argument.
Huang said that death penalty review procedure will be revised to require the court to hold full trials in such cases.
According to Huang, revisions will also be made to eliminate the possibility of illegal detention.
(China Daily, China.org.cn October 13, 2004)