In the early morning of January 9, clashes erupted in Dong Tam commune, a suburb of Hanoi, and related to the land clearance. Lawyer Ngo Anh Tuan (Hanoi) – a legal aid for Dong Tam people in the land dispute – confirmed that the government did not have enough legal basis to use force for land clearing.
Responding to RFI in Vietnamese, lawyer Ngo Anh Tuan affirmed that violence broke out in Dong Tam commune, while the local people’s legal complaint against the decision of the Hanoi People’s Committee was not yet settled by the Government Inspectorate, and people in Dong Tam commune are hoping to continue dialogue with the government to clarify the dispute. Lawyer Ngo Anh Tuan also confirmed he was prevented from entering the Dong Tam commune by government officials in recent days.
Lawyer Ngo Anh Tuan: The Government Inspectorate must issue an “inspection conclusion” or a “decision” but not a “notice.” What they did has not meet what they have to do according to the law. There has been a written complaint (the decision of the Hanoi People’s Committee), now it is the duty of the Government Inspectorate but this agency has yet officially responded. The Government Inspector must issue a written letter to inform its final decision whether it is wrong or right but should not be a “notice.”
Regarding the twists and turns, in the government, there is an unexpected force ordering the use of force to clear land in Dong Tam, even though there is not enough legal basis, Lawyer Ngo Anh Tuan assumes:
“The authorities (an agency for land seizure) can see the notice as a decision. Once they see the notice as a decision, they may not understand (correctly) what the value of this text is like. Perhaps, internally, they see this “notice” as a result of a review of the value of Document 2346 of the Hanoi People’s Committee.
We had no access to the decision they had used for land eviction enforcement, in particular, so we did not dare to judge it, but only feared that they would not use this notice (Government Inspectorate) but Document 2346 of the Hanoi People’s Committee, to make it.
I think they are not foolish to use the notice of the Government Inspectorate. This notice they consider only their “internal review,” not an “administrative decision” for them to make, as a basis. I think that at the level of the Government Inspectorate they are smart enough, so that they know how valuable it is. But to the outside, let the people know, they see this as the final decision,” the highest document. And when implement, they based on Document 2346 (inspection conclusions) of the Hanoi People’s Committee.”
Lawyer Ngo Anh Tuan commented on the next legal procedure that people can complain about the behavior of the Government Inspectorate and the Hanoi People’s Committee:
“If the conclusion is wrong, then the people of the Hanoi Municipal People’s Committee directly involved must make compensation.
Dong Tam people can also, either first appeal to the prime minister, or the second to file a lawsuit (on the behavior of the Government Inspectorate). In this case, if the Government Inspector replies that the people disagree then people can sue the “administrative decision.” If not, then suing “administrative action” for not responding to the Higher People’s Court. The Higher People’s Court in Hanoi can authorize the Hanoi People’s Court. Under the proper jurisdiction, the Higher People’s Court will conduct the first-instance hearing, if they accept the case.
I think that in this part of the work, the Government Inspectorate can’t go on. It is their non-definitive solution, not clear, and most importantly, they do not have a substantive dialogue with the people, making the dull incident last longer (according to lawyer Ngo Anh Tuan, the reason Dong Tam people do not complain about the “notice” of the Government Inspectorate is that they do not consider the notice legally valid, and such complaint will surely be rejected by the judicial authorities.
They themselves will be surprised. If all the information given by the State authorities is accurate, it is very terrible. We could not have imagined such a tragic outcome.”
Lawyer Ngo Anh Tuan said more about the events before the violent incident in Dong Tam:
“When representing the people, we always encourage people to be calm, and persevere in dialogue. In recent meeting, the Government Inspectorate proposed the Dong Tam People’s Committee to invite relevant individuals to the meeting according to the agency’s working plan but not the people who made complaints, so people did not come. That meeting was not effective. The dialogue between the people and the government has not yet come into practice. In fact, even yesterday, we were so surprised, we didn’t understand why the two sides acted so unrestrained!”
Lawyer Ngo Anh Tuan also said that Dong Tam people really want to solve the conflict “in terms of content.” Specifically, this disputed land, if the Defense is deemed defense, then it is necessary to show legal documents, to compare with the legal documents of the people of Dong Tam, before the witness of Government inspectors, Ministry of Defense, Hanoi People’s Committee, and all land related agencies in this locality. People are also willing to accept justice on the part of the Ministry of Defense if the agency has sufficient legal basis. Unfortunately, the dialogue on legal documents related to the disputed land did not take place.
A civilian killed in the Dong Tam case was Mr. Le Dinh Kinh
The state media confirmed that the civilian who died in the incident in Dong Tam was Mr. Le Dinh Kinh, the head of a group of people who sued the land dispute.
According to VietnamNet, a representative of Dong Tam Commune People’s Committee said on January 10, 2020, that the commune has just handed over Mr. Le Dinh Kinh’s body to family members. Mr. Le Dinh Kinh, 84 years old, is the head of the “Consensus Group” who signed complaints and petitions related to the Senh field, which was signed by the prime minister to hand over to National Defense’s unit. According to VietnamNet, Mr. Le Dinh Kinh was killed in the case “against the official on duty.” The information about the death of Mr. Le Dinh Kinh and his son Le Dinh Chuc has spread online for hours.
As reported by the Ministry of Public Security on January 9, three policemen died, but so far, the identity of these police has not been announced.
According to the government’s announcement, violence erupted in Dong Tam commune, My Duc district, Hanoi city, in January 9’s morning when some military units in collaboration with “functional forces” built fences of Mieu Mon Airport, Hanoi, with the result of a civilian and “three police officers” killed. On the social networks spread information about the armed forces, with thousands of soldiers, besieging and attacking people in Dong Tam with rubber grenades, tear gas, batons, beatings, including old and young people. Many people had to be taken to the emergency due to trauma shooting, burning smoke …
The government “will review” the request of foreign repoters
At the press conference yesterday afternoon, speaking to an international reporter, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed that the Vietnamese government would consider press requests. Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang affirmed that the operational requirements of foreign media agencies in Dong Tam area “will be considered by the competent authorities.” So far, according to local sources, the entire area surrounding Dong Tam commune has been completely blocked. Domestic independent reporters and lawyers are not permitted to enter Dong Tam.
Four Vietnamese civil society organizations issued the Dong Tam Declaration January 9, 2020, consisting of 5 points, calling on the authorities “to immediately stop using the armed forces (army, police, other forces). ) using violence of all kinds in resolving land issues with the people of Dong Tam and all localities in Vietnam,” the authorities must “take the injured in Dong Tam to emergency, and at the same time not to prevent people and civil society organizations, the free press from reporting, rescuing and helping Dong Tam people while they are being persecuted.”
By Trong Thanh
Thu Thuy from Hochiminh city – Thoibao.de (translated)
Source in Vietnamese: RFI