Monday, 10 April 2006

China: Death penalty cases will soon be reviewed

China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) has established three new criminal tribunals to review death sentences handed down by provincial courts.

Xinhua newsagency reports that the tribunals commenced work on 1 April. It said they will begin by reviewing cases and giving opinions.

Chen Guangzhong, a consultant to the Supreme People's Court, told Xinhua the tribunals "do not yet formally have the right to review and make final decisions on death sentence cases".

Tribunal staff have been selected from regional courts across China and they are receiving a month of training in Beijing.

The Xinhua report, published on, the Chinese government's official web portal, said the move by the SPC to review death penalty cases "appears to be a response to many Chinese media reports in recent years, which exposed wrongful death penalty sentences, sparking public debate".

The report said: "Putting together brilliant judges to review death sentences is believed to be effective in preventing wrong convictions to better protect human rights."

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