For a fairer judiciary
Updated: 2014-06-17 08:14
Judicial system reform is the only way that building the rule of law can turn from being a slogan into reality. The pilot moves that will be carried out on trial basis in a total of six municipalities and provinces can be expected to bring about major progress in the establishment of a relatively independent judicial mechanism.
That judges and prosecutors at county, prefecture and provincial level will be directly nominated and then appointed by a special committee at the provincial level, which will also have the power to dismiss them should they be found to be unqualified or to have abused their power, means local judicial institutions will not be so reliant on their immediate local government and thus more independent.
The importance of such local independence cannot be underestimated. Without administrative and financial reliance on a local government, judges and prosecutors will have much more autonomy to exercise their judicial power in the process of investigating and trying a case. It will also be much more difficult for local government leaders or a local government per se to exert influence on the hearing of a case.
What will add to the independence and autonomy of judges and prosecutors is the responsibility system, which will require a judge and prosecutor to shoulder life-long responsibility for the cases they handle.
No matter where the judge is and no matter whether he or she is still on the same position, he or she will be held accountable for any miscarriage of justice.
It will not be easy for the reform to be carried out. Yet, however difficult it is and whatever barriers it will meet, this experiment must be conducted to accumulate experience for a nationwide reform, which should greatly promote judicial fairness and the sanctity of the law.
All malpractices, such as obtaining confessions through torture and the conviction of defendants without enough evidence only because of the will of the government, as well as corruption within the judicial sphere, have something to do with the judicial system's close affiliations with local governments and with the way a judicial institution is managed as a government department.
This reform initiated on trial basis will hopefully blaze a trail for the establishment of China's rule of law on the basis of a fair and just judicial system.