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Kunming Plans to Establish Environment Court

City officials in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, plan to create a trial court to handle environment-related lawsuits, the local City Express reported.

The court will be part of the city's intermediate people's court and will have jurisdiction over appeals by companies that have been found guilty of violating environmental laws in cities throughout the province.

Officials decided to create the special court after discussions with the local court, procuratorate, the security bureau and the environmental department, according to the report. Once established, the court will handle criminal, civil and administrative cases related to environmental pollution. It also will assume responsibilities from the local environmental protection bureau which files lawsuits to carry out consequent execution after the ruling.

The article said that the new court, bestowed with the power to issue rulings across cities, will effectively improve the efficiency of environmental cases by eliminating past coordination problems whenever a case involved parties from a different city or region.

Many believe that the new court will greatly enforce the supervisory powers of the city's environmental protection bureau, the article said.

Those who are found guilty of violating environmental protection laws will be given severe punishments and must treat the areas they have polluted to clean them up, the article said.

City officials have submitted the plan for implementing the court to the local government for approval.

( September 22, 2008)

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