The intact independence of the Hong Kong judicial system

“The independence of the Hong Kong judiciary has been preserved since the National Security Act for Hong Kong came into force. The allegations and defamatory campaigns from abroad in this regard are completely baseless,” Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng Yeuk-Wah said on Wednesday. His remarks follow an announcement by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom of the withdrawal of all its judges serving on Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal, the highest court of the Special Administrative Region (SAR).

The British Parliament alleges that the adoption of this security law would have affected the independence of the Hong Kong judicial system, but “the National Security Act does not in any way affect the judicial independence of Hong Kong, which is guaranteed in the Basic Law,” Teresa Cheng said. said.

The Basic Law secures the tenure of judges and exempts them from prosecution in the performance of their judicial duties. Article 85 of the principal law also stipulates that different courts of justice exercise judicial power free from interference. These provisions have not been affected in any way since the enactment of the National Security Act.

According to Teresa Cheng, even though national security law stipulates that the Chief Executive may appoint designated judges to deal with matters relating to national security, judges are constitutionally empowered to decide these matters independently and fairly. responsibility, and the judiciary remains responsible for it. Assigning individual cases to judges. In addition, there are well-established legal mechanisms to ensure fairness of judges, transparency of cases and protection of legitimate rights of the accused.

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Echoing the Justice Secretary, an HKSAR government spokesman also pointed out that the independence of Hong Kong’s judiciary remains as strong as ever, expressing strong opposition to the UK Parliament’s baseless allegations.

In her interview, Teresa Cheng stated that under national security law, the Hong Kong SAR is responsible for managing most of its national security affairs. Such matters are generally dealt with by central authorities in unitary states or by the federal government in federal states. China is a unitary state, but the central government has allowed Hong Kong to investigate, try and decide such matters.

According to Teresa Cheng, this indeed shows a strong determination to implement the principle of “one country, two systems”, as well as the confidence placed in Hong Kong by the central authorities in handling these matters.

Amid the current pandemic, a large number of cases have been delayed, some of which involve national security and are related to social unrest in the city in 2019. Teresa Cheng pointed out that the Department of Justice, the judiciary and the executive agencies were doing everything. They can expedite the handling of these cases and reduce the impact of the pandemic. She also announced that a trial related to the violent incidents at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in November 2019 would soon begin.

Teresa Cheng noted that since the national security law came into force in June 2020, Hong Kong has moved from chaos to stability and prosperity, which is reflected in restored social order, the strength of stock markets and IPOs, as well as thriving business. Is. Climate.

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