Chapter 4: The process of criminal reconciliation programmes: evidence from interviews
Based on the interviewees’ accounts, this chapter depicts a picture of criminal reconciliation different from what the case files have shown. Interviews show that serious violations of the official procedures occurred in all the four stages of this programme, namely, initiation, criminal reconciliation meeting, official decision and follow-up programmes. These violations have not only violated the vital principles of criminal reconciliation, such as voluntariness, but also impaired the parties’ rights protected in the law, such as presumption of innocence. Moreover, some violations, for instance, the prosecutors or judges added compulsory pre-requirements like local household registration (hukou) or the ability to pay monetary compensation as prerequisites for initiating this programme, or clauses impeding the parties’ rights to appeal in the reconciliation agreements, have further obstructed the parties’ access to justice and caused unfairness.
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