A group of nonpartisan lawmakers gathered Thursday, the first day of the new lay judge system, to call for a moratorium on the new criminal trial system that every political party voted unanimously to institute five years ago.

Under the new “saibanin” system, six civilians selected at random will join three professional judges in deliberating heinous crime cases, such as murder and rape, and hand down sentences. Among the possible sentences the jurors must choose from if a defendant is found guilty is the death penalty.

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