CHINA: NEW GUIDELINE ON DEATH PENALTY
December 21, 2008: the Supreme People's Court (SPC) is working on a guideline to unify standards for the issuing of the death penalty for five categories of crimes in a bid to ensure consistency across the country, a senior judge said. The guideline will apply to the crimes of murder, robbery, abduction, drug trafficking and intentional injury, which account for almost all death penalties handed down, the anonymous official said.
"It will include the necessary conditions for handing down the death sentence to those found guilty of any of the five crimes," he said.
"We must unify standards across the county so as to avoid such situations where different sentences are handed down to people found guilty of committing similar crimes," he said. Those who plead guilty and provide helpful information, and those who are accomplices in a criminal case will receive lighter punishments, the SPC judge said. People found guilty of killings triggered by disputes within families or involving neighbours need not necessarily be given the death penalty if the family of the victim is financially compensated, he said.
However, the guideline is not expected to include cases involving serious economic crimes, he said. (Sources: China Daily, 23/12/2008)