Opinion concerning the Establishment of the New Criminal Justice System (No.1)
June 14, 2012
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (“JFBA”) has prepared its“Opinion concerning the Establishment of the New Criminal Justice System (No.1)”dated June 14, 2012, and submitted it to the Minister of Justice and the chairperson of the“Subcommittee on the Criminal Justice System for a New Era”under the Legislative Council of the Ministry of Justice.
(Regarding recent developments incriminal justice system reform)
1. As part of the criminal justice system reforms currently under discussion at the“Subcommittee on the Criminal Justice System for a New Era”under the Legislative Council of the Ministry of Justice, establishment of a new criminal justice system needs to be considered, facing the reality of the conventional criminal justice system which tends to be heavily dependent on interrogations and written statements/confessions, and under which serious human rights violations including detention and punishment have been imposed on those who may have been innocent. A partial amendment of the current criminal justice system is not sufficient; instead, the new criminal justice system should clearly state that priority be given to the principle of impunity for non-offenders.
(Clear statement of the principles on the presumption of innocence and the principle of non-detention)
2. The principles on the presumption of innocence and the principle of non-detention should be clearly stipulated in the General Provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
(Breaking away from the dependence on interrogations and written statements/confessions)
3. There needs to be an adequate recognition of the risk of the current methods of conducting interrogations and obtaining written statements/confessions, and modifications must be made to related laws to achieve the transparency of interrogations, such as through the audio/video recording of the entire process of interrogations, as stated below, in order to bring about a breakaway from the heavy dependence on the current system of interrogations and written statements/confessions:
1) Legislate on mandatory audio/video recording of the entire process of interrogations
2) Clarify that there is no obligation to be interrogated when arrested and detained
3) Clearly define the right to have a defense attorney present during the interrogations
4) Introduce a restriction in the length of interrogations, and
5) Strictly regulate the admissibility of hearsay evidence