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Cabinet approves draft bill on removal of unfit judges

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Executive Yuan approved a draft bill Thursday to allow for the removal of unfit judges and to better regulate the terms of their tenure.

The absence of an effective system to remove unfit judges from the bench has long been one of the public's primary complaints about the judiciary.

Government Information Office Vice Minister Wang Li-chu said the new legislation, once completed, will mark a major step in judicial reform as it will allow for the establishment of a comprehensive mechanism that will authorize the dismissal of unfit judges from their posts.

The draft bill will be referred to the Legislative Yuan for review and approval after being signed by the Judicial Yuan and the Examination Yuan, as it was initiated through extensive cross-agency discussion and consultations with academics and judicial experts, Wang said.

The new bill stipulates that justices of the Constitutional Court and judges at various levels are prohibited from holding membership in any political party or taking part in any party activities during their tenure.

They are also barred from competing in any election for public posts. If they want to run for public office, they should resign or retire a year before registering their candidacy, according to the new legislation.

The legislation also requires the Judicial Yuan to set up a commission to screen matters regarding the recruitment, dismissal, transfer, suspension, evaluation, discipline, extension of tenure and other related affairs.

Under the terms of the draft bill, the Judicial Yuan, courts at various levels and their branches will have to set up councils of judges to handle the judicial case load. The councils will also evaluate the performance of judges and come up with suggestions for discipline or commendation of individual justices.

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