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2. System for participation of saiban-ins in criminaltrials
The Law concerning Participation of Saiban-ins in Criminal Trials(Law No.63of2004)was promulgated on May28,2004.Considering that participation of selected saiban-ins in criminal trial procedures with qualified judges will contribute to the promotion of people's understanding of the judicial system and thereby raise their confidence in it,this law prescribes special provisions to the Court Organization Law(Law No.59of1947),Code of Criminal Procedure(Law No.131of1948)and other necessary matters pertaining to the participation of saiban-ins in criminal trials.
Under this law,the participation of saiban-ins in criminal trials is,in principle,restricted to cases punishable by death or life imprisonment with labor or without labor,and judicial panel cases in which the victim dies by an intentional criminal act.The trial is dealt with by a panel of three qualified judges and six saiban-ins,and judgment of guilt and determination of sentence are decided by a majority of the panel including at least one judge and one saiban-in.Saiban-ins are randomly selected on a case-by-case basis from a list of candidates,which is renewed annually by selecting at random from the list of persons who have the right to vote in elections for the House of Representatives.A person may not be selected as a saiban-in,if he/she has any of the reasons for disqualification or reasons of prohibiting his/her undertaking the position,or is deemed to bring about an unfair trial,or if any of trial parties has made an objection without showing its reason.Furtherm ore,when a person is selected as a saiban-in,he/she can decline it,if he/she has certain reasons.
The law is to come into force on the day designated by a government ordinance within five years reckoned from the date of promulgation.Prior to the date of enforcement,the government and the Supreme Court are to take measures to promote voluntary participation of the people in the criminal justice system,and deepen their understanding and interest in the criminal justice system supported by saiban-ins,such as making plain and clear explanations of the significance of the people's participation in judicial trials as saiban-ins,the procedures to select saiban-ins,and their duties in court hearings and deliberations.