Efforts boosted against wrongful convictions, top court report says
Courts have strengthened efforts against wrongful convictions over the past five years, with the aim to better protect human rights and uphold justice, according to the top court.
Courts around the country overturned 6,747 criminal cases between 2013 and 2017, and pronounced a total of 4,874 defendants "not guilty" over that period, according to the work report of the Supreme People's Court to be delivered at a plenary meeting of the national legislature on March 9.
Of the overturned convictions, 39 were listed as major wrongful cases that involved 78 people. One high-profile case concerned Nie Shubin, who was announced innocent of rape and murder due to unclear facts and insufficient evidence on Dec 2, 2016. Nie was executed in 1995 at the age of 21.
Courts must not tolerate misconduct and should highlight the principle of "no punishment for doubtful cases" in their hearings, according to the report released to reporters ahead of the meeting.
"The aim is to ensure innocent people are not punished as criminals, and those found guilty should be penalized in line with the law," the report says.
The report also says in the past five years, 31,527 criminals were granted amnesty, which highlights the increased protection for human rights.
In that time frame, about 6,470 criminals serving probation outside of prison were sent back to jail after thorough reviews, as neither extrajudicial privilege nor extrajudicial mercy was permitted, according to the report.
The report also says courts across the country concluded 195,000 corruption-related lawsuits from 2013 to 2017, and punished 263,000 people. Of the defendants, 101 were officials at or above vice-ministerial level.
Courts have also strengthened efforts to handle lawsuits related to financial disputes to prevent financial risks and maintain market order. A total of 5.03 million financial disputes were concluded in the past five years, such as those related with loans, insurance and securities, according to the report.