Court chief pledges to crack down on graft in judiciary

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2007, 12:00am

Supreme People's Court president Xiao Yang yesterday took responsibility for corruption and lack of professionalism in the judiciary, pledging to clean up the system and provide better training this year to judges and court officials.

Delivering his work report to the National People's Congress, Mr Xiao admitted the court system needed to improve because corruption and judicial misconduct remained rampant.

'Some judges lack professionalism and are too subjective when processing cases.

'A few judges and court officials have been involved in corruption and other illegal activities, which has led to very bad social consequences,' he said.

'The Supreme People's Court is responsible for these problems. We did not give [local courts] clear guidance. Our supervision is not strong enough and our co-ordination and administration is not effective.'

The credibility of the judicial system was compromised by several high-profile court corruption cases last year - including one in Shenzhen in which five judges were held for the biggest court-corruption scandal in the city's history.

Mr Xiao said 292 court officials were investigated last year for corruption, and charges were laid against 109 of them.

'We must strengthen the supervision of judges, particularly the court chiefs. We must take stern and effective measures against any sort of misbehaviour,' Mr Xiao said.

Procurator-general Jia Chunwang also pledged a crackdown on corruption.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate sent inspectors to 21 provinces last year to investigate alleged misconduct.

In his work report, Mr Jia said 273 state prosecutors were punished and 27 of them charged.

Zhong Faping , NPC delegate from Hunan province , said: 'Many NPC delegates yesterday criticised judicial authorities for a lack of professionalism.

'We are indeed facing some [judicial] corruption problems. I think this is mainly caused by the lack of professionalism of our judicial officials. They need to have more training,' he added.

Ningxia delegate Xu Yinan said: 'I have proposed that we improve the quality of judges and prosecutors.

'This is an important issue and it affects the building of a harmonious society.'