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Top judge underlines fairness and justice

By ZHAO YINAN  (China Daily)

08:17, July 05, 2013

All wrong verdicts 'must be corrected to uphold rule of law'

Top judge Zhou Qiang underlined his resolve to restore judicial credibility and uphold the rule of law in his debut speech on Thursday to chief judges from provincial-level courts nationwide.

"Any wrong verdicts, once confirmed, must be corrected. This reflects our confidence in the law and is required by justice," Zhou said, calling on the judges to prevent such verdicts from recurring.

Zhou, president of the Supreme People's Court, met the judges in Changchun, capital of Jilin province.

It was the first gathering of the judges since Zhou, 53, was elected top judge in March.

The two-day meeting is scheduled to discuss how to ensure fairness and justice for litigants, with the courts trying to restore their public image, which has been marred by wrong verdicts.

He Bing, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said Zhou's speech is expected to guide judges for the next five years.

Zhou warned his colleagues that a single mistake in a judicial ruling can cause long-lasting harm to the litigants. "One single mistake, even out of 10,000 cases, means 100 percent unfairness to those involved."

He also urged the judges to strictly follow newly amended legal procedures that highlight the protection of human rights.

"Judges should do their utmost to ensure justice is done ... since it is the basis of the credibility and authority (of the courts)," he said.

"Judges must work independently (from governments). They should work with colleagues from other courts to overcome regional and departmental protectionism."

Zhou made the remarks after several people sentenced to prison were later found to be innocent.

In Fujian, Chen Kesheng and four of his "accomplices" were acquitted by a local court in May, 12 years after Chen was arrested for a bombing that killed one person.

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