The Chinese government announced Wednesday that it will soon amend its Criminal Procedure Law, including its laws on the death penalty. Huang Songyou, Vice President of China's Supreme People's Court, says that changes are required in light of the fact that China has signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Political Rights and has enshrined a human rights clause into its constitution. Traditionally, death sentence cases were submitted to the Supreme People's Court for review and approval, but the review was on the basis of written reports only. In the future, the Supreme People's Court will review death penalty cases by trying the accused. China's Criminal Procedure Law was last examined in 1996. Read the Chinese government press release here. Chinese academics have estimated that China executes 10,000 convicted criminals annually, five times more than the rest of the world combined. Earlier this year Amnesty International called for a moratorium on China's death penalty under what the group calls a "dysfunctional" criminal justice system. Vice President Songyou admits that, despite the current laws' requirement that all death penalty cases be submitted to China's high court for review and approval, the court makes its decisions based on written reports without hearing the cases. IOL has more.