Judiciary of Saudi Arabia
The judiciary of Saudi Arabia is a branch of the government of Saudi Arabia that interprets and applies the laws of Saudi Arabia. The legal system is based on the Islamic code of Sharia, with its judges and lawyers forming part of the country's religious leadership or ulama. There are non-Sharia government tribunals which handle disputes relating to specific royal decrees. Final appeal from both Sharia courts and government tribunals is to the King of Saudi Arabia and all courts and tribunals follow Sharia rules of evidence and procedure; the Sharia courts have general jurisdiction over most criminal cases. At present, there are two types of courts of first instance: general courts and summary courts dealing with lesser cases. Cases are adjudicated by single judges, except criminal cases if the potential sentence is death, amputation or stoning when there is a panel of three judges. There are two courts for the Shia minority in the Eastern Province dealing with family and religious matters. Appellate courts sit in review decisions for compliance with Sharia.
There are non-Sharia courts covering specialized areas of law, including the Board of Grievances, the Specialized Criminal Court, created in 2008, the Supreme Court. The Board of Grievances was created to deal with complaints against the government, but gained jurisdiction over commercial and some criminal cases, such as bribery and forgery, acts as a court of appeal for a number of non-Sharia government tribunals; these administrative tribunals, referred to as "committees", deal with specific issues regulated by royal decrees, such as labor and commercial law. The judicial establishment, in the broadest sense, is composed of qadis, who give binding judgements in specific court cases, muftis and other members of the ulama, who issue generalized but influential legal opinions; the Grand Mufti is the most senior member of the judicial establishment as well as being the highest religious authority in the country. The judiciary proper is composed of about 700 judges. Qadis have degrees in Sharia law from an Islamic university recognized by the Saudi government with, in many cases, a post-graduate qualification from the Institute of Higher Judiciary in Riyadh.
The training received from such Sharia law degrees is religious in character and is based on the Qu'ran and centuries old religious treatises with no reference to, for example, modern commercial issues. Although most judges have been educated and appointed under the current system, some of the older judges received the traditional qadi's training of years of instruction by a religious mentor in a mosque; the capabilities and reactionary nature of the judges have been criticized. The main complaint made by Saudis is that judges, who have wide discretion in interpreting the Sharia, have no knowledge, are contemptuous, of the modern world. Reported examples of judges' attitudes include rulings banning such things as the children’s game Pokémon, telephones that play recorded music, sending flowers to hospital patients. Saudi judges come from a narrow recruitment pool. By one estimate, 80% are from Al-Qassim province, the conservative religious heartland of Saudi Arabia in the center of the country.
Senior judges will only allow like-minded graduates of select religious institutes to join the judiciary and will remove judges that stray away from rigidly conservative judgments. The Saudi system of justice has been criticized for being slow, lacking in some of the safeguards of justice and unable to deal with the modern world. In 2007, King Abdullah issued royal decrees with the aim of reforming the judiciary and creating a new court system; the reforms have yet to be implemented in full but, once they are, will include the creation of a Supreme Court, the transfer of the Board of Grievances' commercial and criminal jurisdictions to a restructured general court system. New specialist first instance courts will be established comprising general, personal status and labor courts; the Sharia courts will therefore lose their general jurisdiction to hear all cases and the work load of the government's administrative tribunals will be transferred to the new courts. Another important change is the establishment of appeal courts for each province.
It has been claimed that the reforms will establish a system for codifying Sharia and incorporating the principle of judicial precedent into court practice. In 2008, the Specialized Criminal Court was created; the court tries human rights activists. On 26 June 2011, the court started trials of 85 people suspected of being involved in Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the 2003 Riyadh compound bombings, in September 2011 another 41 al-Qaeda suspects appeared in the court. In the same year, the court held trial sessions of human rights activists, including Mohammed Saleh al-Bejadi, co-founder of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association and Mubarak Zu'air, a lawyer for long-term prisoners, a protestor, Khaled al-Johani, who spoke to BBC Arabic Television at a protest in Riyadh; the court convicted 16 of the human rights activists to sentences of 5–30 years on 22 November 2011. In 2009, the King made a number of significant changes to the judiciary's personnel at the most senior level by bringing in a younger generation.
For example, as well as appointing a new Minister of Justice, a new chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council was appointed. The outgoing chairman was known to oppose the codification of Sharia; the king appointed a new head of the Board of Grievances and Abdulrahman Al Kelya as the firs
Judiciary of Cyprus
The Judiciary of Cyprus is the system of courts which interprets and applies the law in Cyprus. It is based on the English model. Judicial independence is safeguarded by the Constitution; the applicable laws in Cyprus are the Constitution, the laws of Article 188 in the Constitution, the Common Law and Equity and laws enabled by the Cyprus House of Representatives. The District Courts are courts of first instance for civil matters and criminal cases involving prison sentences of five years of less. There are six such courts: Nicosia, Kyrenia, Larnaca and Paphos; the Assize Courts are courts first instance for criminal cases which involve prison sentences of more than five years. The Assize Courts consist of three judges with no jury and may be composed of either: a district president and two district judges a district president, a senior district judge and a district judge a district president and two senior district judges. There are four such courts: Nicosia, Larnaca and Paphos; the Supreme Court was established in 1964 from a merger of the Supreme Constitutional Court and the High Court.
Although it can act as a court of first instance it is an appeal court for both civil and criminal cases. As an appellate court the Supreme Court can review and re-examine all the evidence, request or admit other evidence and order cases to be reheard, it is composed of 13 judges. The Supreme Court acts as a constitutional and administrative court, it can rule on electoral issues. It is based in Nicosia. There are five Family Courts, three for Nicosia and Kyrenia, one for Limassol and Paphos and one for Larnaca and Famagusta which decide in divorce, child custody and real estate matters. There is a family court for religious groups in Nicosia. There are two Rent Control Courts which try cases of recovery of property, property rentals and associated matters. There are three Industrial Disputes Tribunals, based in Nicosia and Limassol, which have jurisdiction over employment matters; the Military Court has jurisdiction over military matters. Judges are members of the Judicial Service of the Republic.
All judges, except those of the Supreme Court, are appointed by the Supreme Council of Judicature, a body composed of the judges of the Supreme Court, responsible for their appointment, promotion and discipline. Supreme Court Judges are appointed by the President of the Republic on the recommendation of the Supreme Court. There are 85 judges serving in all courts of first instance and 13 judges serving in the Supreme Court, they cannot be removed from office except under exceptional circumstances. Supreme Court Judges retire at the age of 68, whereas those of all other courts retire at the age of 63. Chief Justice of Cyprus - Colonial era
Mohammed Zahir Shah
Mohammed Zahir Shah was the last King of Afghanistan, reigning from 8 November 1933 until he was deposed on 17 July 1973. He expanded Afghanistan's diplomatic relations with many countries, including with both Cold War sides. In the 1950s, Zahir Shah began modernizing the country in line with Turkey, his long reign was marked by peace and stability, lost afterwards. While staying in Italy for medical treatment, Zahir Shah was overthrown in a surprise coup in 1973 by his cousin and former prime minister, Mohammed Daoud Khan, who established a republic, he remained in exile near Rome until 2002, returning to Afghanistan after the end of the Taliban government. He was given the title Father of the Nation, which he held until his death in 2007. Zahir Shah was born on 15 October 1914, in Afghanistan, he was the son of Mohammed Nadir Shah, a senior member of the Muhamadzai Royal family and commander in chief of the Afghan army for former king Amanullah Khan. Nadir Shah assumed the throne after the execution of Habibullah Kalakani on 10 October 1929.
Mohammed Zahir's father, son of Sardar Mohammad Yusuf Khan, was born in Dehradun, British India, his family having been exiled after the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Nadir Shah was a descendant of Sardar Sultan Mohammed Khan Telai, half-brother of Amir Dost Mohammad Khan, his grandfather Mohammad Yahya Khan was in charge of the negotiations with the British resulting in the Treaty of Gandamak. After the British invasion after the killing of Sir Louis Cavagnari during 1879, Yaqub Khan, Yahya Khan and his sons, Princes Mohammad Yusuf Khan and Mohammad Asef Khan, were seized by the British and transferred to the British Raj, where they remained forcibly until the two princes were invited back to Afghanistan by Emir Abdur Rahman Khan during the last year of his reign. During the reign of Amir Habibullah they received the title of Companions of the King. Zahir Shah was educated in a special class for princes at Habibia High School in Kabul, he continued his education in France where his father had served as a diplomatic envoy, studying at the Pasteur Institute and the University of Montpellier.
When he returned to Afghanistan he helped his father and uncles restore order and reassert government control during a period of lawlessness in the country. He was enrolled at an Infantry School and appointed a privy counsellor. Zahir Shah served in minister of education. Zahir Shah was fluent in Pashto and French. Zahir Khan was proclaimed king on 8 November 1933 at the age of 19, after the assassination of his father Mohammed Nadir Shah. After his ascension to the throne he was given the regnal title "He who puts his trust in God, follower of the firm religion of Islam". For the first thirty years he did not rule, ceding power to his paternal uncles, Mohammad Hashim Khan and Shah Mahmud Khan, both serving as prime ministers; this period fostered a growth in Afghanistan's relations with the international community as during 1934, Afghanistan joined the League of Nations while receiving formal recognition from the United States. By the end of the 1930s, agreements on foreign assistance and trade had been reached with many countries, most notably with the'Axis powers': Germany and Japan.
Zahir Shah provided aid and Afghan fighters to the Uighur and Kirghiz Muslim rebels who had established the First East Turkestan Republic. The aid was not capable of saving the First East Turkestan Republic, as the Afghan and Kirghiz forces were defeated during 1934 by the Chinese Muslim 36th Division commanded by General Ma Zhancang at the Battle of Kashgar and Battle of Yarkand. All the Afghan volunteers were killed by the Chinese Muslim troops, who abolished the First East Turkestan Republic, reestablished Chinese government control over the area. Despite close relations to the Axis powers, Zahir Shah refused to take sides during World War II and Afghanistan remained one of the few countries in the world to remain neutral. After the end of the Second World War, Zahir Shah recognised the need for the modernisation of Afghanistan and recruited a number of foreign advisers to assist with the process. During this period Afghanistan's first modern university was founded. During his reign a number of potential advances and reforms were derailed as a result of factionalism and political infighting.
He requested financial aid from both the United States and the Soviet Union, Afghanistan was one of few countries in the world to receive aid from both the Cold War enemies. In a 1969 interview, Zahir Shah said, but I don’t want socialism. I don't want socialism. I don’t want us to become the servants of Russia or China or the servant of any other place."Zahir Shah was able to govern on his own during 1963 and despite the factionalism and political infighting a new constitution was introduced during 1964 which made Afghanistan a modern democratic state by introducing free elections, a parliament, civil rights, women's rights and universal suffrage. At least five Afghani little Pul coins during his reign bore the Arabic title: المتوكل على الله محمد ظاهر شاه, "AlMutawakkil'ala Allah Muhammad Zhahir Shah" which means "The leaner on Allah, Muhammad Zhahir Shah"; the title "AlMutawakkil'ala Allah", "The leaner on Allah" is taken from the Quran, Sura 8, verse 61. By the time he returned to Afghanistan in 2002, his rule was characterized by a lengthy span of peace.
In 1973, while Zahir Shah was in Italy, undergoing eye surgery and therapy for lumbago, his cousin and former Pri
The Taliban or Taleban, who refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, are a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement and military organization in Afghanistan waging war within that country. Since 2016, the Taliban's leader is Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada; the leadership is based in Pakistan. From 1996 to 2001, the Taliban held power over three quarters of Afghanistan, enforced there a strict interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law; the Taliban emerged in 1994 as one of the prominent factions in the Afghan Civil War and consisted of students from the Pashtun areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan, educated in traditional Islamic schools, fought during the Soviet–Afghan War. Under the leadership of Mohammed Omar, the movement spread throughout most of Afghanistan, sequestering power from the Mujahideen warlords; the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was established in 1996 and the Afghan capital was transferred to Kandahar. It held control of most of the country until being overthrown after the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in December 2001 following the September 11 attacks.
At its peak, formal diplomatic recognition of the Taliban's government was acknowledged by only three nations: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates. The group regrouped as an insurgency movement to fight the American-backed Karzai administration and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in the War in Afghanistan; the Taliban have been condemned internationally for the harsh enforcement of their interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, which has resulted in the brutal treatment of many Afghans women. During their rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban and their allies committed massacres against Afghan civilians, denied UN food supplies to 160,000 starving civilians and conducted a policy of scorched earth, burning vast areas of fertile land and destroying tens of thousands of homes. According to the United Nations, the Taliban and their allies were responsible for 76% of Afghan civilian casualties in 2010, 80% in 2011, 80% in 2012. Taliban has engaged in cultural genocide, destroying numerous monuments including the famous 1500-year old Buddhas of Bamiyan.
The Taliban's ideology has been described as combining an "innovative" form of sharia Islamic law based on Deobandi fundamentalism and the militant Islamism and Salafi jihadism of Osama bin Laden with Pashtun social and cultural norms known as Pashtunwali, as most Taliban are Pashtun tribesmen. The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and military are alleged by the international community and the Afghan government to have provided support to the Taliban during their founding and time in power, of continuing to support the Taliban during the insurgency. Pakistan states. In 2001 2,500 Arabs under command of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden fought for the Taliban; the word Taliban is طالبان ṭālibān, meaning "students", the plural of ṭālib. This is a loanword from Arabic طالب ṭālib, using the Persian plural ending -ān ان. In Arabic طالبان ṭālibān means not "students" but "two students", as it is a dual form, the Arabic plural being طلاب ṭullāb—occasionally causing some confusion to Arabic speakers.
Since becoming a loanword in English, besides a plural noun referring to the group, has been used as a singular noun referring to an individual. For example, John Walker Lindh has been referred to as "an American Taliban", rather than "an American Talib". In the English language newspapers of Pakistan, the word Talibans is used when referring to more than one Taliban; the spelling Taliban has come to be predominant over Taleban in English. After the Soviet Union intervened and occupied Afghanistan in 1979, Islamic mujahideen fighters engaged in war with those Soviet forces. Pakistan's President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq feared that the Soviets were planning to invade Balochistan, Pakistan, so he sent Akhtar Abdur Rahman to Saudi Arabia to garner support for the Afghan resistance against Soviet occupation forces. A while the US CIA and Saudi Arabic General Intelligence Directorate funneled funding and equipment through the PakistanI Inter-Service Intelligence Agency to the Afghan mujahideen. About 90,000 Afghans, including Mohammed Omar, were trained by Pakistan's ISI during the 1980s.
The British Professor Carole Hillenbrand concluded that the Taliban have arisen from those US-Saudi-Pakistan-supported mujahideen: "The West helped the Taliban to fight the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan". After the fall of the Soviet-backed regime of Mohammad Najibullah in 1992, many Afghan political parties, but not Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami, Hizb-e Wahdat, Ittihad-i Islami, in April agreed on a peace and power-sharing agreement, the Peshawar Accord, which created the Islamic State of Afghanistan and appointed an interim government for a transitional period. Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami party refused to recognize the interim government, in April infiltrated Kabul to take power for itself, thus starting this civil war. In May, Hekmatyar started attacks against Kabul. Hekmatyar received operational and military support from Pakistan's ISI. With that help, Hekmatyar's forces were able to destroy half of Kabul. Iran assisted the Hizb-e Wahdat forces of Abdul Ali Mazari. Saudi Arabia supported the Ittihad-i Islami faction.
The conflict between these militias escalated into war. Due to this sudden initiation of civil war, working g
Sharia, Islamic law or Sharia law is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God's immutable divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations; the manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between Muslim fundamentalists and modernists. Traditional theory of Islamic jurisprudence recognizes four sources of sharia: the Quran, sunnah and ijma. Different legal schools—of which the most prominent are Hanafi, Shafi'i, Hanbali and Jafari—developed methodologies for deriving sharia rulings from scriptural sources using a process known as ijtihad. Traditional jurisprudence distinguishes two principal branches of law, ʿibādāt and muʿāmalāt, which together comprise a wide range of topics, its rulings are concerned with ethical standards as much as with legal norms, assigning actions to one of five categories: mandatory, neutral and prohibited.
Thus, some areas of sharia overlap with the Western notion of law while others correspond more broadly to living life in accordance with God’s will. Classical jurisprudence was elaborated by private religious scholars through legal opinions issued by qualified jurists, it was applied in sharia courts by ruler-appointed judges, who dealt with civil disputes and community affairs. Sultanic courts, the police and market inspectors administered criminal justice, influenced by sharia but not bound by its rules. Non-Muslim communities had legal autonomy to adjudicate their internal affairs. Ottoman rulers achieved additional control over the legal system by promulgating their own legal code and turning muftis into state employees; the Ottoman civil code of 1869–1876 was the first partial attempt to codify sharia. In the modern era, traditional criminal laws in the Muslim world have been replaced by statutes inspired by European models. Judicial procedures and legal education were brought in line with European practice.
While the constitutions of most Muslim-majority states contain references to sharia, its classical rules were retained only in personal status laws. Legislators who codified these laws sought to modernize them without abandoning their foundations in traditional jurisprudence; the Islamic revival of the late 20th century brought along calls by Islamist movements for full implementation of sharia, including hudud corporal punishments, such as stoning. In some cases, this resulted in traditionalist legal reform, while other countries witnessed juridical reinterpretation of sharia advocated by progressive reformers; some Muslim-minority countries recognize the use of sharia-based family laws for their Muslim populations. The role of sharia has become a contested topic around the world. Introduction of sharia-based laws sparked intercommunal violence in Nigeria and may have contributed to the breakup of Sudan; some jurisdictions in North America have passed bans on use of sharia, framed as restrictions on religious or foreign laws.
There are ongoing debates as to whether sharia is compatible with secular forms of government, human rights, freedom of thought, women's rights, LGBT rights, banking. The word sharīʿah is used by Arabic-speaking peoples of the Middle East to designate a prophetic religion in its totality. For example, sharīʿat Mūsā means law or religion of Moses and sharīʿatu-nā can mean "our religion" in reference to any monotheistic faith. Within Islamic discourse, šarīʿah refers to religious regulations governing the lives of Muslims. For many Muslims, the word means "justice," and they will consider any law that promotes justice and social welfare to conform to sharia. Jan Michiel Otto distinguishes four senses conveyed by the term sharia in religious and political discourse: Divine, abstract sharia: God's plan for mankind and the norms of behavior which should guide the Islamic community. Muslims of different perspectives agree in their respect for the abstract notion of sharia, but they differ in how they understand the practical implications of the term.
Classical sharia: the body of rules and principles elaborated by Islamic jurists during the first centuries of Islam. Historical sharia: the body of rules and interpretations developed throughout Islamic history, ranging from personal beliefs to state legislation and varying across an ideological spectrum. Classical sharia has served as a point of reference for these variants, but they have reflected the influences of their time and place. Contemporary sharia: the full spectrum of rules and interpretations that are developed and practiced at present. A related term al-qānūn al-islāmī, borrowed from European usage in the late 19th century, is used in the Muslim world to refer to a legal system in the context of a modern state; the primary range of meanings of the Arabic word šarīʿah, derived from the root š-r-ʕ, is related to religion and religious law. The lexicographical tradition records two major areas of use where the word šarīʿah can appear without religious connotation. In texts evoking a pastoral or nomadic environment, the word, its derivatives refer to watering animals at a permanent water-hole or to the seashore, with special reference to animals who come there.
Another area of use relates to notions of lengthy. This range of meanings is cognate with the Hebrew saraʿ and is to be the origin of the meaning "way" or "path". Both these areas have been claimed to have given rise to aspects of the religious m
Judiciary of Israel
The judicial system of Israel consists of secular courts and religious courts. The law courts constitute a independent unit of Israel's Ministry of Justice; the system is headed by the Minister of Justice. Religious courts include Jewish batei din and Druze courts, courts for ten recognized Christian communities. Located in Jerusalem, the Supreme Court has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all other civil and military courts, in some cases original jurisdiction in criminal and civil cases; as an appellate court, it considers appeals on judgement and other decisions by the district courts, in rare cases it takes appeals from the labor and military court systems. It considers appeals on a judicial and quasi-judicial cases of various kinds, such as matters relating to the legality of Knesset elections and disciplinary rulings of the Bar Association. Sitting as the High Court of Justice, it acts as a court of first instance in matters concerning the legality of decisions regarding state authorities.
The High Court of Justice or otherwise the Israeli Supreme Court acts sometimes not as an appellate body to the district court but as an overseer of justice against the lower courts. The district courts constitute the middle level courts of the judicial system, have jurisdiction in any matter not within the sole jurisdiction of another court. In criminal matters, the courts have jurisdiction over cases where the accused faces a penalty of at least seven years imprisonment. In civil cases, they have jurisdiction over cases in which more than two and a half million shekels are in dispute. District courts hear appeals of judgments of the magistrate courts, as well as cases involving companies and partnership, prisoners petitions, appeals on tax matters. Sitting as courts for administrative matters, they can hear petitions against arms of the government. One sits as the court of admiralty, hearing all cases involving shipping commerce, accidents on the sea and the like. Most cases are heard by a single judge, though the court president can choose to appoint a three-judge panel.
Cases where the accused is charged with an offense punishable by at least ten years in prison and appeals from magistrate courts are heard by three-judge panels. There are one in each district of Israel; the Magistrate courts serve as basic trial courts. In criminal matters, they hear cases where the accused faces up to seven years imprisonment, in civil cases, have jurisdiction over matters up to two and a half million shekels, they have jurisdiction over the possession of real property. The courts act as traffic courts, municipal courts and family courts. Sitting as small-claims courts, they have jurisdiction over cases involving claims up to 30,000 shekels. Rather than following standard evidentiary rules, they require extensive pleadings and documentation upon filing of a formally written complaint. Verdicts are expected seven days from trial. Cases are heard by a single judge. There are 30 magistrate courts. There are five Regional Labor Courts in Israel acting as tribunals of first instance, a National Labor Court in Jerusalem which hears appeals from the regional courts, as well as a few cases of national importance as a court if first instance.
In rare instances, a ruling from the National Labor Court can be further appealed to the Supreme Court. They are vested with exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving employer-employee relationship, pre-employment, post-employment strikes and labor union disputes, as well as labor related complaints against the National Insurance Institute, claims under the National Health Insurance Law; the Labor Courts Law sets forth those matters within the jurisdiction of the Labor Court. All causes of action arising from the employer-employee relationship are within the court's jurisdiction. In civil matters, the Labor Courts are not bound by the rules of evidence. Most cases are heard by a panel of three, including a Judge, a representative on behalf of employees and a representative on behalf of employers. In the Israel Defense Forces, a legal system separate from the civilian legal system is maintained, it is overseen by the Military Advocate General, has a system of military courts to try soldiers for criminal offenses and deal with criminal and security cases in the Israeli-occupied territories.
All three of Israel's military districts, the ground and maritime branches of the military, the Home Front Command, the General Staff have military courts. There is a special military tribunal, naval military tribunal, field tribunals can be set up in times of war; the Military Court of Appeals is the supreme military court of Israel. It handles appeals from both the defense in lower military courts. In special instances, a decision of the Military Court of Appeals can be further appealed to the Supreme Court, but special permission from the Supreme Court is required, permission is granted only when there is a significant legal issue; the military courts of first instance are composed of a three-judge panel. The head of the panel is a professional judge with a legal education and judicial experience, while the two others are officers who serve in units based in the court's regional district and do not have a legal background. Hearings in the Military Court of Appeals are presided over by three-judge panels, but at least two of the judges must have a legal background, most judges of the Military Court of Appeals have previous experience sitting in military courts of first instance.
For less serious offenses, the IDF maintains a disciplinary jurisdiction system. It is respons
Judicial system of China
The judicial branch is one of three branches of the government, not the state structure, in the People's Republic of China, along with the executive and legislative branches. Speaking, it refers to the activities of the People's Court system. According to the Constitution law of China, China does not adopt the "separation of power" system as in modern democratic countries, the People's court does not enjoy a separate and independent power, but subject to the control of the People's Assembly. Constitutionally, the court system is intended to exercise judicial power independently and free of interference from administrative organs, public organizations, individuals, yet the constitution emphasizes the principle of the "leadership of the Communist Party."Hong Kong and Macau have separate court systems due to their historical status as British and Portuguese colonies, respectively. According to the Constitution of the People's Republic of China of 1982 and the Organic Law of the People's Courts that went into effect on January 1, 1980, the Chinese courts are divided into a four-level court system: At the highest level is the Supreme People's Court in Beijing, the premier appellate forum of the land, which supervises the administration of justice by all subordinate "local" and "special" people's courts.
It is the court of last resort for the whole People's Republic of China except for Macau and Hong Kong. Local people's courts -- the courts of the first instance -- handle civil cases; these people's courts make up the remaining three levels of the court system and consist of "high people's courts" at the level of the provinces, autonomous regions, special municipalities. Courts of Special Jurisdiction comprises the Military Court of China, Railway Transport Court of China and Maritime Court of China, forestry; the court system is paralleled by a hierarchy of prosecuting offices called people's procuratorates, the highest being the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Hong Kong and Macau have separate court systems due to their historical status as British and Portuguese colonies, respectively. Between the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957 and the legal reforms of 1979, the courts—viewed by the leftists as troublesome and unreliable—played only a small role in the judicial system. Most of their functions were handled by other government organs.
In 1979, the National People's Congress began the process of restoring the judicial system. The world was able to see an early example of this reinstituted system in action in the showcase trial of the Gang of Four and six other members of the "Lin-Jiang clique" from November 1980 to January 1981; the trial, publicized to show that China had restored a legal system that made all citizens equal before the law appeared to many foreign observers to be more a political than a legal exercise. It was intended to show that China was committed to restoring a judicial system; the Ministry of Justice, abolished in 1959, was re-established under the 1979 legal reforms to administer the newly restored judicial system. With the support of local judicial departments and bureaus, the ministry was charged with supervising personnel management and funding for the courts and associated organizations and was given responsibility for overseeing legal research and exchanges with foreign judicial bodies; the 1980 Organic Law of the People's Courts and the 1982 State Constitution established four levels of courts in the general administrative structure.
Judges are elected or appointed by people's congresses at the corresponding levels to serve a maximum of two five-year terms. Most trials are administered by a collegial bench made up of one to three judges and three to five assessors. Assessors, according to the State Constitution, are elected by local residents or people's congresses from among citizens over twenty-three years of age with political rights or are appointed by the court for their expertise. Trials are conducted by the inquisitorial system, in which both judges and assessors play an active part in the questioning of all witnesses. After the judge and assessors rule on a case, they pass sentence. An aggrieved party can appeal to the next higher court; the Organic Law of the People's Courts requires that adjudication committees be established for courts at every level. The committees are made up of the president, vice presidents, chief judges, associate chief judges of the court, who are appointed and removed by the standing committees of the people's congresses at the corresponding level.
The adjudication committees are charged with reviewing major cases to find errors in determination of facts or application of law and to determine if a chief judge should withdraw from a case. If a case is submitted to the adjudication committee, the court is bound by its decision; the Supreme People's Court stands at the apex of the judicial structure. Located in Beijing, it has jurisdiction over all lower and special courts, for which it serves as the ultimate appellate court, it is directly responsible to the National People's Congress Standing Committee, which elects the court president. China has'special' military, rail transport, water transport, forestry courts; these courts hear cases of counter-revolutionary activity, bribery, sabotage, or indifference to duty that result in severe