It is human nature to pursue interests and avoid risks. Therefore, it is logical that witnesses do not want to appear in court without any economic compensation and guarantee of personal safety.
British police had helped an overseas Chinese student surnamed Dong recovered her 3,000 yuan-worth iPhone4 stolen in Britain. Recently, the thief was tried and Dong was invited by British police to appear in court as a witness. All the expenses, which summed to 10,000 yuan including round-trip tickets, board, and transportation fees were assumed by the British police.
The rate of attendance of witnesses in court is very low in China. According to interrelated data, the rate of witnesses' appearing in Shenzhen Municipal Intermediate People's Court is between 2 percent and 5 percent. An intermediate people's court of Beijing had tried 5,500 criminal cases in a year, but only 29 cases had witnesses appearing in court, accounting for 1 percent.
There are many reasons for the low rate of attendance of witnesses in criminal cases of China, but the lack of economic compensation and personal safety guarantee may be an important factor.
The new amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law strengthened protection of the rights and interests of witnesses in two aspects. First, it strengthened protection of the personal safety of witnesses, setting up special measures to protect the personal and house safeties of witnesses and their immediate families. Second, it provided certain economic compensation for the attendance of witnesses in court, as well as the expenses of transportation, board and lodging. However, the related system must be further improved to bring these measures into effect.
Read the Chinese version:保障“证人出庭”不妨借鉴英国经验; Source: Beijing News
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