One of the major drivers behind the judicial reform process in China is the role played by the legal research communities in the country’s key academic institutes, many of which have close ties with the policy makers in both the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Supreme People’s Court. ICCLR’s projects have been very helpful to the SPP and the SPC with their reform initiatives by conducting applied research on local conditions, documenting the experiences of other countries and providing legal argument and analysis of international standards and conventions.
This is where the Implementing International Standards in Criminal Justice in China Project (IISCJCP 2003-2007) has fitted in. Through linkages between ICCLR in Canada and the Centre for Criminal Law and Justice (CCLJ), the Research College for Criminal Jurisprudence (RCCJ) and the China Prison Society (CPS) in China, the project created a platform for research and dialogue between the judicial reform communities within and between the two countries. The project was able to contribute to enhancing the capacity of Chinese legal scholars and justice officials to expose, analyze and publicize key reform issues related to China’s criminal justice system.
The IISCJCP focused on legal rights in criminal justice related to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), international cooperation related to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) standards, and community corrections related to the UN’s standards. The project and its predecessor projects together:
- Prepared 15 sets of legislative and policy reform recommendations;
- Sponsored 150 seminars, lectures, workshops, conferences, study tours and consultations;
- Involved over 10,000 Chinese justice officials, judges, prosecutors, police officers, corrections officers, legal aid lawyers, law professors and university students; and
- Distributed over 50,000 copies of project-financed books to national and local agencies, law schools and research institutes.
While the attribution of impact to a single donor project like the IISCJCP contradicts the multiple contributions and conditions necessary for reforming a legal/judicial system as large as China’s, nonetheless, the IISCJCP was able to support its Chinese partner organizations to:
- Publish 2 major books of comparative and investigative research findings on fair trial standards;
- Develop recommendations on amending the Law on Criminal Procedures;
- Formulate a set of recommendations on the requirements for implementing the UNTOC and UNCAC;
- Influence the SPP’s decision to change death sentence appeal and approval procedures and develop options for preventing wrongful executions;
- Develop options for reforming the country’s labour re-education system;
- Introduce and develop models for community corrections and expand the system of community corrections to 18 Chinese provinces; and
- Publish two books on the concept of offender risk assessment and the early release of prison inmates.
For more information on each project and the participating
partners, follow these links: