(TibetanReview.net, Sep10, 2016) – Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is the only provincial-level government in the People’s Republic of China which does not ask legal experts instead of government officials to screen judges, prosecutors, reported english.caixin.com Sep 8. All Chinese province-level governments except TAR have set up independent committees to select and oversee the work of judges and prosecutors, part of an ongoing effort to minimize government interference in the judiciary, the report said, citing a report on a survey carried out by the media group itself.
The report said the northeastern province of Liaoning was the latest to set up an independent judicial selection committee, citing the state-run Liaoning Daily which had reported on Sep 6. The Caixin report cited analysts as saying these committees will be composed of veteran judges, lawyers and academics specializing in legal affairs. It added that the committees will reduce interference from local government officials who were until now responsible for selecting and monitoring judges and state attorneys.
The committees were also reported to have the power to punish judges and prosecutors found guilty of professional misconduct.
The report cited authorities in TAR as saying in Feb 2015 that they planned to introduce a similar system that year and that the reasons for the delay were not known.
The idea of setting up independent judicial committees were said to have been first floated by the Communist Party’s Central Leading Group for Overall Reform, headed by party General Secretary General Xi Jinping, in 2014. Under it, selection of judges was to be based on merit and their professional track record.
The purpose was to improve the professionalism of judges and prosecutors to reduce wrongful convictions, following reports in recent years of several wrongful convictions, including cases in which the defendant was put to death, and which were overturned after retrials during which it was proved that the police had tortured or coerced witnesses.