Justice comes too late for Huugjilt



Justice may have arrived too late for Huugjilt, who 18 years ago was wrongly sentenced and subsequently executed for rape and murder, but on Monday China's legal system proved the truth will out.

The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Higher People's Court officially announced that Huugjilt had not raped and murdered a woman in a public toilet in Hohhot on April 9, 1996.

He was sentenced to death and executed in June the same year. He was only 18 years old.

Although justice has finally been served, it has come too late for the innocent boy, and his family will continue to suffer under the dark cloud that their innocent son was snatched from their lives.

As China works toward building a country governed by rule of law, such delayed justice with irretrievable cost cannot be tolerated and false judgments show the need for further judicial reform.

Even though his parents are entitled to financial compensation, what is money when compared to Huugjilt's life?

For police officers, procuratorates and judges, it is only a judicial case, but for the people involved, it has an effect on their lives and the lives of those around them.

The acquittal came after persistent petitioning by Huugjilt's parents, and journalists that had petitioned to bring the false judgment to the attention of superior authorities. However, it was also made possible by a paradigm social shift.

In the last two years, a series of wrongful judgments have been corrected. Both the Supreme People's Court (SPC) and the Supreme People's Procuratorate issued guidelines and implemented systems to prevent wrongful judgments.

In early 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping said all judicial organs must focus on ensuring fairness and justice in every case.

Zhou Qiang, president of the SPS and China's chief justice, said in an article published last month that justice delayed is justice discounted, and it affects the authority and accountability of the rule of law.

In late October, the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) convened a key meeting, during which it established a new blueprint for rule of law, and promised judicial reform.

The reform plan includes the guarantee of independence for courts and prosecutors, preventing intervention by senior Party and government officials.

Next on the agenda should be the naming and shaming of those officials involved in the influencing of false judgments.

More important is finding a way to prevent officials from abusing their power in this way in the future.