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July 29 2009 | CHINA

China

Supreme Court: towards a reduction of death sentences

 
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EFE

China se propone restringir la aplicación de la pena de muerte

Pekín, 29 jul.- Un alto cargo del Tribunal Popular Supremo (TPS) aseguró que el número de ejecuciones se verá reducido en China, país que dicta el mayor número de penas de muerte, con por cerca de 10.000, según datos de los legisladores.

Zhang Jun, vicepresidente del TPS señaló, en declaraciones recogidas hoy por el diario "Legal Daily", que el organismo tiene previsto mejorar la legislación para restringir las sentencias capitales.

Desde que en enero de 2007 el TPS recuperó la última decisión sobre las penas de muerte, ese año fueron denegadas un 15 por ciento de las emitidas, y en 2008 se rechazó un 10 por ciento, según señalaron fuentes judiciales al diario "China Daily".

A pesar de estas reducciones, el año pasado China condenó a un total de 159.020 delincuentes a penas de muerte, cadena perpetua o más de cinco años de prisión, cifra que supone el 15,8 por ciento de todas las sentencias delictivas pronunciadas en el país asiático.

Según Zhang, la sentencia de "pena de muerte con indulto" se usará más en los tribunales con la mejora de la legislación.

Esta sentencia permite conmutar la pena capital por cadena perpetua y posteriormente a 20 años de prisión o a penas incluso más leves por buen comportamiento.

"Es imposible la abolición de la pena capital en el país bajo la realidad social actual, pero es importante realizar un esfuerzo para controlar de forma estricta la aplicación de esta pena por parte de los órganos judiciales", señaló Zhang en una entrevista con el diario.

China es uno de los países más criticados por la comunidad internacional y los grupos de derechos humanos por su aplicación de la pena de muerte, que supera a la cifra combinada del resto de países del mundo que practican esta condena.

El vicepresidente del tribunal señaló que la pena de muerte ha contado en China con un fuerte apoyo durante más de 5.000 años, y que este castigo se ve entre la población como un "ojo por ojo, vida por vida".

"Los departamentos judiciales deberían aplicar esta sentencia lo menos posible, y no hay que recurrir a la pena de muerte contra aquellos que tengan un motivo para no ser ejecutados", agregó Zhang.

En este contexto, el juez señaló que la pena de muerte se aplicará sólo para "un número extremadamente pequeño" de delincuentes que hayan cometido delitos muy graves o abyectos con consecuencias sociales graves.

Zhang señaló que el TPS está siendo muy cauteloso con asesinatos dentro de una familia o entre vecinos, en los que generalmente se aplica la ejecución, y está usando sentencias menos radicales si el acusado se confiesa culpable o a compensado a la familia de la víctima.

Estados Unidos, China e Irán concentran un 80 por ciento de las ejecuciones que se llevan a cabo cada año, según datos de Amnistía Internacional, pero el país asiático supera con creces a los otros dos.

 

AP

China says death penalty to be used more sparingly

BEIJING - The highest court in China, which executes more people than any other country, has called for the death penalty to be used less often and for only the most serious criminal cases, state media reported Wednesday.

The remarks indicate that the Supreme People's Court, which reviews all death sentences from lower courts before they are carried out, could overturn more of them.

Rights group Amnesty International reported earlier this year that China put at least 1,718 people to death in 2008.

The penalty is used even for nonviolent crimes such as corruption or tax evasion.

The court will revise legislation to cut down the number of death sentences and will stress commuting sentences to life in prison for some criminals who show good behavior, a senior director in charge at the court told the Legal Daily newspaper.

«A policy of strictly controlling and being cautious to use the death penalty ... requires judicial departments to use as few death penalties as possible, meaning you don't kill those who you don't have to kill,» the official was quoted as saying in an interview, a partial transcript of which was published on the Legal Daily Web site.

The paper did not give his name, but the English-language China Daily newspaper _ which reported on the Legal Daily interview _ said Wednesday it was Zhang Jun, vice president of the Supreme People's Court.

He was quoted as saying the Supreme People's Court tries to ensure that the death penalty is given to those who commit serious crimes that have social consequences, but that it is not feasible for China to abolish the death penalty altogether.

For example, for crimes stemming from disputes between family members or neighbors, a death penalty should not be given if the charged gives compensation or is forgiven by the family of those he injured.

The China Daily said the Supreme People's Court overturned 15 percent of death sentences handed down in 2007 and 10 percent in 2008.

It pointed to a decision by the court last week that overturned a death sentence imposed on a man who killed his lover when he found out she was having an affair. The court considered the woman was also partly responsible and that Shao had shown regret and paid compensation to the victim's family. The case did not have any social impact, it said.

 

Reuters

China to reduce number of executions, paper says

BEIJING, July 29 - China will cut the number of people it executes every year to "an extremely small number" and commute more death sentences, though the country has no plans to abolish capital punishment, a state newspaper said on Wednesday.

China is probably the world's most prolific state executioner, with at least 7,000 people sentenced to death and 1,718 people executed last year, according to rights group Amnesty International.

It has drawn criticism from rights activists for the high execution rate and the range of crimes that carry the death penalty. It now applies to more than 60 offences in China, including many non-violent and economic crimes. But the China Daily quoted Zhang Jun, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court, as saying the number of executions will be reined in.

"As it is impossible for the country to abolish capital punishment under current realities and social security conditions, it is an important effort to strictly control the application of the penalty by judicial organs," Zhang said.

"Judicial departments should use the least number of death sentences possible." The report did not give any figures for current execution rates or reduction targets, but Zhang did say that the ultimate punishment should be handed down only to "an extremely small number" of serious offenders, the paper said.

The court has been trying to hand down death sentences only to "those who have committed extremely serious or heinous crimes that lead to grave social consequences", the paper added.

In January 2007, the Supreme People's Court regained the power of final approval of death penalties, devolved to provincial high courts in the 1980s, and it promised to apply the ultimate punishment more carefully.

 

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