Vietnam’s Council of Supreme Court Judges rejects the death sentence of Ho Duy Hai

On May 8’s afternoon, the cassation review court carried out by the 17-member Council of the Supreme Court Judges rejected the appeal of Ho Duy Hai, ending his hope for a path of life.

The court, despite the bureaucratic investigation process, no solid evidence, with controversial witnesses, stated that Hai was sentenced correctly. This is really a political ruling, not justice.

This cassation is the hearing that exposes the reality of a hopeless justice. That is the comment of journalist Bach Hoan on her Facebook page which has over 200,000 followers.

 “I just watched a clip of Ho Duy Hai’s sister crying for her brother in the afternoon after the verdict was sentenced. All that remained in me was the feeling of my heart tightening. Fragile human fate. Far-off justice. Pain for the human condition. Pain for a society without justice.

When the judges prioritize evidence not testimonies, the principle of innocent presumption is ignored, any mother will probably have to cry like the cry of Ho Duy Hai’s mother today, any sister can scream like his sister today.

What future for a country where justice is blind?

This country, looking at what happened today, is truly hopeless.

The case of murdering in Cau Voi Post Office occurred in early January 2008 and Ho Duy Hai was arrested. At that time, Mr. Nguyen Hoa Binh was the deputy director of the General Department of Police cum deputy head of the Investigation Agency of the Ministry of Public Security.

After being sentenced to death by the court, Ho Duy Hai’s family has been repeatedly complaining. In 2011, as the chairman of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, Mr. Binh decided not to appeal the verdict.

In 2020, when the Supreme People’s Procuracy appeals the sentence, the cassation hearing was opened to review errors in the investigation and proceeding process. At this time, Mr. Binh is again the chief judge of the Supreme People’s Court and acted as the chairman of the cassation review court.

As a result, the principle of innocent assumption is ignored. The judges said despite investigating errors and false evidence, the investigation results are still correct. Hai is still facing being executed while Mr. Binh is still not too old for higher posts.

In this judicial background, Hai is just like a weed, but the name Ho Duy Hai will follow Binh all his life.

And of course, the people also put his name in their black book, so that one day he could claim it all,” journalist Bach Hoan commented.

Mr. Nguyen Hoa Binh used to be the deputy head of the Investigation Agency of the Ministry of Public Security, chief of the Supreme People’s Procuracy and now is the chief judge of the Supreme People’s Court

During the three-day hearing, after reading the case files, the Judges Council voted on each specific content.

As the chairman of the cassation review panel, Mr. Binh asked all members to vote on each issue.

1. The case has procedural errors as stated. Did those errors change the nature of the case?

Results 17/17 members voted “Do not change the nature of the case“.

2. Is the appellate judgment and the first instance judgment convicting Ho Duy Hai the right person, the right crime, and the right sentence?

Results 17/17 members voted “Right person, right sin, and right sentence“.

3. The President’s Decision No. 639 / QD-CTN of May 17, 2012, denouncing Ho Duy Hai’s application for commencement of the death sentence, which is in force, the appeals Decision No. 15 / QD-VKSNDTC-V7 of the Supreme People’s Procuracy is legal?

Results 17/17 members voted “Not legal.”

4. Accept the appeal, canceling the two appellate judgments and first instance as well as conducting re-investigation, or not accept the appeal?

Results 17/17 members voted “No accepting appeals.”

A notable opinion related to the perpetrator shared on social networks is the saying of lawyer Pham Cong Ut. Mr. Ut revealed: “My colleague lawyer said that they have a video clip proving that other people are the culprits. Thus, if the clip was available, it must be in a security camera but has been seized. In that clip it may not be Ho Duy Hai. I also once shouted that the clip must be shown to justify a life. However, my colleague lawyer said it was impossible to give because if one could save one but affect many others.”

Attorney, Lawyer Tran Dinh Trien made a series of conflicting details and affirmed that Ho Duy Hai was not the culprit, he wrote: “I was particularly interested in the minutes of the trial when the Trial Panel placed the Question: ‘You didn’t come to the post office that day, why are the statements from the Investigation Agency, which you clearly describe from the cutting board, the knife, the teddy bear, the fruit?

Ho Duy Hai was silent and did not dare to speak the truth. His last words at the two court levels petitioned and said ‘Please ask the court to carefully review this case’.”

Overview of cassation trial

During all prison visits, Hai asked his family to petitionate for him.

In the petition of his mother Nguyen Thi Loan his aunt Nguyen Thi Ruoi stated: Hai’s confession is due to being arranged and Hai was beaten.

He was beaten so much that he could not walk. He had to be led by two people at the time before the appellate trial. Hai did not dare to say this clearly because he was being detained in the police detention center in Long An province. in fear of being tortured.”

About bracelets, foots and blood traces on the scence:

According to the conclusion of the investigation, the indictment, the first instance judgment and the appeal, Ho Duy Hai went to Cau Voi Post Office at 19:30. Around 20:30, Hai killed two post office staffs named Hong and Van. For nearly 1 hour sitting talking to Hong and Van; Hong invited Hai to drink water. Later, Hai gave Van some money to go out to buy some fruits. After Van went out, Hai had an idea of ​​having sex with Hong, leading to scuffle to kill Hong and when Van came back, he killed Van too.

If the truth goes on like that, then Hai has no plans to kill Hong and Van to rob property. At the same time, that process will leave a lot of fingerprints on drinking glasses, on tables, chairs, doors, pots and wipers in the toilet; shoe traces, etc.

– Examine the scene capturing fingerprints on the glass doors, toilet doors, especially the fingerprints on the wipers that the conclusions of the procedure-conducting bodies have recorded: 2 times Hai was said to wash knives and hands but the inspection results conclude: all fingerprints seized at the scene are not Hai’s ones.

– The foot prints seized on the seat did not match the slippers that Hai walked on that day;

– The blood traces collected at the back door and toilets at the scene, were examinated by the Sub-Institute of the Institute of Criminal Science – Ministry of Public Security in Ho Chi Minh City five months later.

The big question that needs to be clarified is this: Are these blood spots pre-assessed for non-blood traces of Hong, Van, and Hai? (The first instance judgment stated: “The bloodstains collected at the scene is not the defendant’s” – So for sure there was the blood assessment within 5 months after the crime occurred but where is the result of that assessment. Why it is not in the case file judgment?

It is confirmed that at the scene of the blood of the killer due to the scouring process left, and it does not belong to Ho Duy Hai?

Ho Duy Hai was not present at the post office. This is the evidence to prove the extremely important aliens for Ho Duy Hai.

According to the conclusion of the investigation, the indictment, and two judgments: Ho Duy Hai went to Cau Voi Post Office at 19:30 and killed Anh Hong and Thu Van at around 20:30.

As described in the file: Ho Duy Hai went to Nguyen Thi Tuyet Trinh’s pawn shop to sell his phone. Here Hai phoned Vo Loc Dang (at 19:13 according to the telephone record). Thus, Hai was present at the pawnshop from about 19.14 to 19.30.

Thus, about 19:30 Hai was present at the pawnshop. From the pawnshop to the Cau Voi Post Office, the distance is 7.5 km and the road quality was bad and if he really went to the post office, he had to do many other things: going home to change motorbikes, going to Bay Thạn to pay for Dang, taking Dang to Hai Thuong shop then going to Cau Voi Post Office. Even he drived fast, he couldnt be in the post office before 20.00.

According to witness testimony Ho Van Binh and Dinh Vu Thuong, at 19:00, there was a motorbike in the Post Office yard and a young man sitting at the salon talking to Hong.

That is objective evidence: the witness’s testimony but also accurately showing the time of phone calls, pawn time, pay time for Dang, and the distance of the distance, … sufficient evidence to prove that the young man present at Cau Voi Post Office is someone other than Ho Duy Hai,” lawyer Tran Dinh Trien reached the conclusion. (Translated)

Kasse animation 7.8.2023