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People's Daily Online>>China Politics

Judges will question condemned criminals

By Zhao Yinan (China Daily)

08:41, March 15, 2012

Experts say move shows progress in curbing number of death sentences

A long-awaited amendment will make interrogating criminals a "must" for judges when they review a death penalty sentence, a step forward in tightening the use of capital punishment and protecting criminals' rights.

The Amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law, passed by the National People's Congress on Wednesday, made the latest change in a final draft submitted to top lawmakers for a vote.

As of next year, the new clause requires judges from the Supreme People's Court to interrogate offenders sentenced to death and listen to defendants' lawyers when a capital punishment case is under review.

Judges also have to reach an explicit ruling on whether or not to approve the death sentence. For sentences being refuted by the court, judges should either commute the sentence or send the case back to the court of first instance for retrial.

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