Monday, February 16, 2015

How should Chinese military courts be reformed? Global Military Justice Reform:

Zhang Jiantian
Global Military Justice Reform: How should Chinese military courts be reformed?
by Susan Finder, J.D., LLM
"Zhang Jiantian, former Central Military Commission (CMC) Legislative Affairs Commission official (and former military judge), and currently a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, set out his thinking on the problems of the military courts and how they should be reformed earlier this month on the Chinese national court website (and the People's Court Daily).  His views appear on this blog for the second time. In this article, he provides the world outside the gated Chinese military legal community a window into the issues confronting the reform of Chinese military justice. Professor Zhang notes that although in name Chinese military courts appear to be courts established in the PLA and People's Armed Police, in reality they are a department of the military political authorities, which has created a whole set of problems:

  • Complete lack of legal protection for the military courts;
  • Unclear status of the military courts;
  • Difficult role for military judges;
  • Military courts operate as a functional department in each military region.  Personnel management of military judges is split from management of their work.
  • Operating funds are allocated by the political departments of each service, so the independence of the courts is affected by the control of the finance department of the military service over funding.
  • The current system means that command leadership wherever the court is situated interferes in the trial of cases. 
  • 2008 judicial reforms approved by the Communist Party Central Committee, which included military judicial reforms, were not effectively implemented, which he attributed to the absence of a legal framework."
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