Sat, Aug 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Jury system advocates call for inclusion in package

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

New Power Party Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) on Wednesday joined Taiwan Jury Association founder Jerry Cheng (鄭文龍) and members of the Northern Taiwan Society to demand the institution of a jury system as a key measure of a judicial reform package.

The jury system is in use in 52 countries, including many advanced nations, Cheng said.

“Why is its implementation not being discussed in judicial reform meetings?” he said, referring to hearings in the first half of this year by subcommittees of the preparatory committee for the National Congress on Judicial Reform, which is to convene its final meeting today.

Cheng questioned the abandonment of the jury system proposal by the congress, which instead proposed establishing a citizen judge system as part of the reform package to be finalized at today’s meeting.

The citizen judge system proposal is similar to the system in use in Japan, he said.

“However, the Japanese system has not been completely effective, as there are some problems with it. Taiwan’s judiciary should not adopt systems from other nations that have been shown to have problems,” Cheng said.

Cheng called the citizen judge proposal a pseudo-issue, which would be used to hinder the real judicial reform demanded by the public and mislead members of the congress.

The subcommittee hearings failed to reach a consensus on the issue and did not put it on the agenda for today’s meeting, Huang said, adding: “This is a very shoddy attempt to wrap up final deliberations on the judicial reform process, which has been in motion for half a year.”

Huang decried the Judicial Yuan and the Presidential Office, which has led the judicial reform process and actively shaped the direction of discussion and the formulation of the final meeting’s agenda.

“We have concerns about the 12 main proposed measures for the final agenda, which seems to have already been set,” Huang said.

He questioned the purpose of today’s meeting, saying: “Is it like a religious ceremony to worship deities? Is it just to rubber stamp the decisions of some top officials?”

“If so, then the half-year process has been a big waste of taxpayers’ money,” Huang said. “All the time and effort have been squandered, only to come up with decisions that do not meet the expectations of the public.”

Regarding the citizen judge proposal, Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Lu Tai-lang (呂太郎) on Monday said the congress had arrived at 12 major decisions, but failed to reach a consensus on adopting a jury or a lay judge system, adding that no decision would be made on the issue in the final meeting.

A committee was established in June that invited experts from the judicial, legal and academic circles to study the jury system used in the US and the lay judge systems used in Germany and Japan, Lu said, adding that it formulated a draft citizen judge system that it deemed the form of civic participation in the judiciary most appropriate for Taiwanese society.

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