BEIJING - Chinese lawmakers have called for victims to play a greater role in a pilot program of plea bargaining in criminal cases.
Though China has included victims as a major party in its criminal litigation system, such as with victim-offender reconciliation, the plea bargaining pilot program failed to do so, according to Mo Wenxiu, a member of the Standing Committee of the National People"s Congress, during a panel discussion on a report about the pilot program"s progress.
The report was submitted for deliberation to the top legislature"s ongoing bimonthly session, which ends Wednesday.
In September 2016, the top legislature approved a two-year pilot program to allow suspects to plead guilty in return for a lesser charge in 18 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.
Under the program, suspects and defendants who are willing to confess, agree with prosecutors" indictments and sentencing proposals, and sign affidavits, will be given mitigated punishments.
Defendants who face jail terms of three years or lower fall under the pilot program.
"The right of the victims could be better safeguarded by ensuring their right of participation during the process, which will let them vent their anger, and will in turn help promote litigation harmony," Mo said.
The report quoted figures from a third-party survey saying that over 97 percent of lawyers and over 94 percent of defendants are satisfied with the pilot program. However, no rate for victims was provided, according to Shen Yueyue, vice chairwoman of the committee, at the same session.
"The law should be fair to both parties. Only when the satisfaction rate of both parties was provided, could the general public be reassured," she said.
The pilot program over the past year has improved litigation efficiency, cut social costs and alleviated judicial burdens, said the committee member Bai Zhijian at the session.
Bai suggested improving regulations to explore the use of the pilot system for juvenile offenders.