28.07.10 03:35 Age: 8 yrs
New Rules Regarding Evidence and Confession in Criminal Cases
On June 25, 2010, China's Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of State Security, and Ministry of Justice released two new sets of rules regarding the use of evidence in capital cases and the procedure for excluding confessions by criminal suspects that had been obtained through illegal means. The Notice that was published along with the new rules encourages all Chinese courts and security departments to recognize the significance of the new rules, quickly begin training their employees under the new rules, and to stringently enforce the new rules.
The rules regarding evidence in capital cases specify that any oral evidence or confession coerced from a suspect, or obtained through illegal means such as violence or threats, must be excluded. The rule also details the procedures to be followed if a defendant alleges that evidence was obtained illegally, how the court should proceed, and how a prosecutor may attempt to prove the legality of the evidence. The other set of rules, regarding evidence in criminal cases, aims to require that convictions be based on objective, abundant evidence. To this end, it requires that all facts used to convict a defendant be proven, that each item of evidence used be verified as authentic, that no evidence is contradictory, and that the conclusions drawn from the evidence are the only ones logically possible. The laws also stipulate more stringent procedures regarding witness testimony, victim statements, defendant declarations, expert opinions, and records of on-site investigations.
“The new rules regarding evidence and confessions in capital cases are an enormous step forward for the Chinese criminal system,” commented Edward E. Lehman, managing partner of Lehman, Lee & Xu. He went on to predict that they would make the system “more equitable” and hoped that the evidence rules would eventually “be extended beyond the capital case context, so as to apply to all criminal cases.”