Judges from member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have agreed to increase judicial cooperation and information exchanges to help safeguard regional security and jointly promote the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative.
They made the agreement at an SCO judges forum, which was held in Qingdao, Shandong province, from Monday to Tuesday, with some judicial representatives and diplomats participating via video link.
Lauding the great efforts of SCO members in fighting cross-border crime, solving trade disputes, providing legal assistance and aiding anti-pandemic work, Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People's Court, China's top court, said, "Courts from the organization should expand cooperation in more judicial areas and increase exchanges on the rule of law."
In a speech at the forum's opening ceremony on Monday, Zhou called upon SCO judges to share more information on judicial reforms, the construction of technology-friendly courts, case handling and trials, encouraging them to build consensus and implement bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
A center was set up in Qingdao on Monday to serve as a platform for SCO judges to improve communications, hold seminars and organize training sessions.
Li Ganjie, Party chief of Shandong, said the center and the forum provide opportunities for SCO judges to learn from each other, adding the province will offer improved legal services for foreign litigants and make its own contribution to promoting the BRI through better legal cooperation.
Vladimir Norov, secretary-general of the SCO, attended the forum online. He highlighted the importance of judicial exchanges and consensus as the foundation to build a sound legal environment that will help maintain regional stability and promote economic growth.
To further protect the legitimate interests of individuals and enterprises in cross-border cases, he suggested SCO members establish an international dispute-resolution mechanism, adding it would also help with the restoration of economic and social development amid the pandemic.
Norov said building a judicial database to allow SCO judges to better understand the laws of other member states and help solve commercial disputes is also necessary.
In a speech delivered online, Shermuhammad Shohiyon, chairman of Tajikistan's Supreme Court, shared his country's studies on a number of hot judicial issues, including cross-border trade, the protection of children, and online litigation.
He expressed interest in learning how judges in other countries deal with similar cases, adding "I believe we'll also benefit from such exchanges."