Punishing and Preventing the Crimes of Dereliction of Duty and Infringement of Rights

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-21 08:36
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 Crimes of dereliction of duty and infringement of lawful rights by state organ functionaries are severe forms of corruption. The CPC, in its efforts to improve the conduct of Party members, ensure clean government, and fight corruption, has committed itself to the effective prevention and stern punishment of such acts of corruption. The CPC Central Committee, with Hu Jintao as the General Secretary, has emphasized the importance of preventing the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights, putting forward specific requirements and making important arrangements on a number of occasions. The Standing Committee of the Eleventh National People’s Congress (NPC) has heard and deliberated special procuratorial reports on the dereliction of duty and the infringement of rights for two consecutive years. 

    January 7, 2011, “Rule of Law and Responsibilities—An Exhibition of the Efforts of Procuratorial Authorities to Punish and Prevent the Crimes of Dereliction of Duty and Infringement of Rights” started its Yunnan tour in Kunming. The exhibition was hosted by the People’s Procuratorate of Yunnan Province under the direction of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Qin Qing

 Procuratorial authorities must do more to punish and prevent the dereliction of duty and the infringement of rights. By doing so, they will play a more active role in promoting lawful administration, ensuring impartiality in the use of judicial power, safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of the general public, and promoting sound and rapid economic and social development.

 I. Further strengthening our sense of mission and responsibility and showing greater vigor in procuratorial efforts to combat dereliction of duty and infringement of rights

 The Fourth and Fifth Plenary Sessions of the Seventeenth CPC Central Committee and the Sixth Plenary Session of the Seventeenth Central Commission for Discipline Inspection all emphasized that more should be done to fight corruption and ensure clean government, to limit and monitor the use of power, and to investigate and punish violations of the law and disciplinary codes. In December 2010, the CPC Central Committee heard and deliberated documents on strengthening efforts to punish and prevent dereliction of duty and infringement of rights formulated by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and eight other departments.

 In October 2010, the Seventeenth Session of the Standing Committee of the Eleventh NPC heard and deliberated the Report of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Improving Procuratorial Work Concerning the Dereliction of Duty and Infringement of Rights. While fully affirming the progress that has been achieved in procuratorial efforts to combat the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights, it also identified problems in the process of investigation and punishment, and put forward several requirements with a view to addressing these problems. The priority of procuratorial authorities should be to enhance efforts in the investigation and punishment of violations. They should put forward measures and suggestions to enhance prevention by analyzing the characteristics and the changing trends of violations on the basis of experience. They are also required to deepen coordination with relevant departments and improve working mechanisms in order to achieve cohesion.

 Procuratorial authorities at all levels should be aware of the crucial responsibility that they bear in preventing the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights. Adhering to the principles of putting people first and enforcing the law for the benefit of the people, procuratorial authorities should consciously regard initiatives to prevent the dereliction of duty and the infringement of rights as an inherent part of a wider scheme to fight corruption, ensure clean government, and implement the three major tasks of the procuratorial, judicial and public security systems (namely, promoting the resolution of social conflicts, innovation in social management, and justice and integrity in law enforcement). By making greater efforts to investigate, punish, and prevent the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights, they should strive to achieve new breakthroughs in this aspect of procuratorial work.

 II. Further strengthening efforts in the handling of cases to be more stringent in investigation and punishment

 At present, we are still facing a serious challenge in our efforts to fight corruption and ensure clean government, with some areas being particularly prone to criminal behavior. Procuratorial authorities must remain committed to their core role of enforcing the law. As they perform the responsibilities given by law, they should seek to strike a balance between quantity, quality, efficiency and effectiveness.

 Emphasis must be given to key aspects in the handling of cases. In order to promote scientific development and accelerate the transformation of the pattern of economic development, we should attach great importance to cases in which the use of power has undermined scientific development, threatened the safety of government investments, and cases where irresponsible and short-sighted decisions have resulted in severe economic losses. In an effort to ensure the public well-being, we should focus on cases in which people’s economic, political, and personal rights and interests have been infringed. Moreover, we should view this as an effective means of promoting the implementation of policies formulated by the Party and government on safeguarding human rights and improving public well-being. In order to effectively resolve social conflicts and promote innovation in social management, we should take stern action in cases where local authorities and people in key positions have abused their power for personal gain; cases in which the dereliction of duty has triggered public disturbances involving large numbers of people; and particularly in cases where corruption has resulted in serious accidents. In order to promote government administration in accordance with the law and ensure justice and integrity in law enforcement, we should act firmly in cases where leading bodies and leading cadres have abused their power and acted with negligence; cases in which the abuse of judicial power, administrative law enforcement power, and administrative approval authority have seriously undermined the interests of the state and the people; and cases of gross misconduct in which government workers have protected Mafia-like gangs.

 Solid steps must be taken to raise standards in the handling of cases. We should improve our capacity to conclude cases with minimum interference. This should be done by enhancing our integrated operation mechanisms, pooling together internal resources, and by seeking a higher level of coordination and unified leadership in trans-regional cases, major cases, as well as highly complex and difficult cases. We also need to be more aware of the importance of evidence. We should formulate reference standards for the judgment of evidence in various different types of case, ensure that evidence is gathered, reviewed and judged on a legal, comprehensive and objective basis, and maintain strict standards in the confirmation of facts, the examination of evidence, the observance of procedures, and the application of the law. This will help us to conclude more investigations, file more prosecutions, and secure more convictions. According to guidelines, we must ensure that procuratorate authorities report to their immediate supervising authority whenever a new case is opened. Also, we must ensure the full implementation of rules stipulating that a procuratorate authority must be authorized by its immediate supervising authority before it can issue an arrest, withdraw a case, or decide not to pursue charges for suspected occupational crimes. We should comprehensively promote the system of citizen supervision. In addition, we will make greater efforts to promote transparency in the enforcement of the law. Mechanisms that provide for the handling of cases under public scrutiny will be improved, while channels that allow the public to report and bring charges against procuratorial authorities and procuratorial personnel who have violated the law and disciplinary codes will be safeguarded.

 The law must be enforced in a rational, peaceful, civil, and standardized manner. We need to find a balance between the punishment of crimes and the protection of normal social activities, and between our tasks of enforcing the law and serving national development. In addition, we must be able to tell the difference between attempts at reform and criminal acts, and between unintended errors and the dereliction of duty. We will accelerate the standardization of case-processing areas, enforce strict standards in the application of residential surveillance, fully implement rules requiring the production of both audio and visual recordings during the questioning of suspects of occupational crimes, and take resolute action to prevent the occurrence of forced confessions. Moreover, we will continue to implement the policy of “severity tempered with leniency” and pay attention to our methods in the handling of cases so as to maintain order during the course of our work.

 Emphasis must be attached to the effectiveness of law enforcement and the handling of cases. We should make efforts to thoroughly analyze deficiencies in our law enforcement ideology, our concept of law enforcement, the means we adopt to enforce the law, our ability to handle cases, and the way that we emphasize the handling of cases. On this basis, we should identify solutions and take steps to improve them. We must ensure that first-instance judgments are subject to a simultaneous review by junior and senior procuratorate authorities. In accordance with the law, we should resolutely contest judgments in cases where errors have been made in the confirmation of facts and the application of the law, where penalties are abnormally light, and where litigation procedures have been seriously violated. We will increase our efforts to monitor the implementation of sentences given to those found guilty of the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights. In order to promote the strict enforcement of the law, we must take firm action to rectify unlawful decisions to reduce sentences, grant parole, or allow convicted persons to serve their sentences outside of prison on a temporary basis.

 III. Further enhancing prevention in order to curb violations at the source

 The focus of our efforts should be shifted towards prevention. To do this, cadres and especially leading cadres must be made aware of the harm caused by the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights, and must also be aware that power and responsibility come hand in hand. Procuratorial authorities should comprehensively engage in the prevention and punishment of crime, focusing on prevention. On this basis, the handling of cases should be closely integrated with efforts to strengthen prevention, and a mechanism that integrates the two should be put in place. We need to thoroughly analyze the causes of the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights, identify the weak links in our institutions, mechanisms and systems, actively put forward precautionary suggestions, and promote institutional improvement by rooting out legal loopholes. We will actively carry out legal awareness campaigns, such as introducing case studies, through which we will use education as a deterrent. By doing so, we will firmly establish an ideological line of defense among government workers which will drive them to be honest and industrious in their work, to administer in accordance with the law, and to be impartial in the use of judicial power. We will seek to develop systems for investigation and analysis, advanced warnings, and special activities in areas prone to the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights. We will concentrate on special precautionary measures in regard to outstanding issues that undermine development and stability, result in a severe public backlash, and draw the attention of Party committees and governments at all levels. We will comprehensively issue annual reports on the prevention of the dereliction of duty, infringement of rights and other occupational crimes. These reports, which assess the overall state, patterns, and trends of occupational crime in various regions, will serve as a basis for Party committees, governments, and relevant departments to make policy decisions.

 IV. Further promoting the innovation of systems and mechanisms in order to overcome difficulties in procuratorial work concerning the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights

 In line with the deepening reform of the judicial system and work mechanisms, we must be innovative in the design of systems and mechanisms in order to fundamentally address the difficulties that we face in discovering, establishing, verifying and addressing criminal cases involving the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights. To do this, we must closely rely on the coordination of commissions for discipline inspection and commissions of politics and law at all levels. It is also essential that we rely on the support and cooperation of relevant departments. First, we need to develop a work mechanism to underpin the special investigation of major and complicated cases. We should strengthen ties with discipline inspection authorities and relevant judicial and administrative law enforcement bodies. When dealing with major and complicated cases, joint investigation groups should be established when necessary, and a mechanism for joint meetings on the handling of major and complicated crimes pertaining to the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights should be established. Such a design will give full play to the intellectual, technical, and political advantages of various departments in the resolution of cases. Second, we need to improve the links between administrative law enforcement and criminal justice. We should strengthen our ties with administrative law enforcement bodies and thereby promote the establishment and development of mechanisms for the sharing of information, the inquiry of information over a joint network, the exchange of clues, the coordinated investigation of cases, and common prevention, monitoring, and coordination. We will take steps to further improve the mechanisms that allow procuratorial authorities to participate in investigation on major production safety accidents, major food and drug safety incidents, major environmental pollution incidents, cases of major harm to the land and resources, and cases taking place in major projects. This will put us in the position to seriously investigate and punish the dereliction of duty, infringement of rights, and other occupational crimes involved in such accidents, incidents, and cases. Third, we need to develop mechanisms for information to be exchanged and action to be taken in instances where leading Party cadres and employees in state organs interfere with the investigation and punishment of acts that constitute the crime of dereliction of duty and infringement of rights. Through active communication with discipline inspection departments, we will ensure that those who illegally interfere with, obstruct, or disturb the work of procuratorates in investigating and handling cases involving dereliction of duty and infringement of rights are held accountable for their respective violations of Party discipline, political discipline, and the law. Fourth, we need to actively promote the improvement of the legal system so that it is better equipped to combat the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights. We must work with relevant departments to resolve problems that exist in the treatment of cases concerning the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights, such as conviction criteria, sentencing guidelines, cumulative punishment, favoritism and irregularities, damage confirmation, and the issue of light punishment. On this basis, we should promptly issue judicial interpretations and put forward relevant legislative suggestions.

 V. Further enhancing capacity building to achieve a higher standard of procuratorial work concerning the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights

 Procuratorial authorities at all levels should regard building their capacity to combat the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights and enhancing their ability to investigate, punish and prevent the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights as a strategic task. They should approach this task with vigor and resolve, and strive to produce results. We will concentrate on the ideological, political, and ethical development of procuratorial personnel that handle cases involving the dereliction of duty and infringements of rights. A special educational campaign called “Responsibility and Mission” will be launched, which will not only allow officials and other personnel in procuratorial authorities to correctly understand the new situation, new tasks, and new requirements, but will also clearly define the direction of our efforts to strengthen and improve procuratorial work concerning the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights. By increasing the abilities of procuratorial staff and organizing initiatives such as practical training and case discussions, we shall strive to enhance our capacity to apply laws and policies, handle complicated cases, resolve social conflicts, and reach out to the people. We will improve mechanisms for exchanges between investigation personnel, mechanisms for the training of investigation personnel, and make vigorous efforts to foster and attract experts with professional skills and the ability to overcome difficulties. We will make efforts to improve the work style of procuratorial officials and other personnel that handle cases involving the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights in order to demonstrate ourselves as just and clean law enforcers. We will strive to resolve deficiencies in grassroots procuratorates and procuratorates in western regions, such as incomplete institutions, inadequate personnel, and backward facilities. Efforts should be made to ensure that procuratorate authorities are fully equipped to investigate, punish and prevent the dereliction of duty and infringement of rights.

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.4, 2011)


Note:Author: Procurator-General of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of the People’s Republic of China

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 The Supreme People’s Procuratorate of the People’s Republic of China

 The people’s procuratorates of the People’s Republic of China are state organs for legal supervision. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate is the highest procuratorial organ in China. It reports to the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee, and is subject to the supervision thereof. Its major functions are as follows: putting forward proposals to the NPC and its Standing Committee in accordance with the law; overseeing people’s procuratorates at various local levels as well as special people’s procuratorates; defining the guiding principles and laying out the tasks of procuratorial work; conducting investigations on embezzlement cases, bribery cases, cases of infringements of citizens’ democratic rights, cases of dereliction of duty, and other criminal cases it considers necessary for direct handling by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in accordance with the law; directing the investigations of people’s procuratorates at various local levels and investigations conducted by special people’s procuratorates; offering judicial interpretations on the specific application of the law in procuratorial work; formulating regulations, detailed rules, and stipulations on procuratorial work; overseeing ideological work, political work, and personnel development in procuratorial authorities; and overseeing people’s procuratorates at various local levels and special people’s procuratorates in the administration of procurators in accordance with the law.

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