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from The Peoples Daily !|
China can follow UK example to ensureappearance of witnesses in court
(People's Daily Online)15:38, January 23, 2013
It is human nature to pursue interests and avoid risks. Therefore, it is logical thatwitnesses do not want to appear in court without any economic compensation andguarantee of personal safety.
British police had helped an overseas Chinese student surnamed Dong recovered her3,000 yuan-worth iPhone4 stolen in Britain. Recently, the thief was tried and Dong wasinvited by British police to appear in court as a witness. All the expenses, whichsummed to 10,000 yuan including round-trip tickets, board, and transportation feeswere assumed by the British police.
The rate of attendance of witnesses in court is very low in China. According tointerrelated data, the rate of witnesses' appearing in Shenzhen Municipal IntermediatePeople's Court is between 2 percent and 5 percent. An intermediate people's court ofBeijing had tried 5,500 criminal cases in a year, but only 29 cases had witnessesappearing in court, accounting for 1 percent.
There are many reasons for the low rate of attendance of witnesses in criminal cases ofChina, but the lack of economic compensation and personal safety guarantee may bean important factor.
The new amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law strengthened protection of therights and interests of witnesses in two aspects. First, it strengthened protection of thepersonal safety of witnesses, setting up special measures to protect the personal andhouse safeties of witnesses and their immediate families. Second, it provided certaineconomic compensation for the attendance of witnesses in court, as well as theexpenses of transportation, board and lodging. However, the related system must befurther improved to bring these measures into effect.