A journalist in Vietnam commented to VOA that the Vietnamese government’s new faith regained part of the public from the successful dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic was now ruined by the cassation hearing of Ho Duy Hai which made the public “very indignant,” bringing “negative” and “gloomy” sentiment in society. Meanwhile, another well-known intellectual said that if the heads of the Communist Party of Vietnam and its regime are “smart enough,” then they must take immediate action to intervene in the case.
In a commentary published on May 11, the People’s Police, a mouthpiece of the Ministry of Public Security, wrote that “in Ho Duy Hai case, the decision of the Council of Judges of the Supreme People’s Court admitted the professional errors of the local procedure-conducting agency but they did not change the nature of the case.”
The People’s Police added: “Therefore, it is impossible to deduce, exaggerate the case and then ask for “separation of three power branches’ to deal with injustice and legal miscarriages.”
A few days after the Supreme People’s Court Judges Council (SPC) rejected the Supreme People’s Procuracy’s appeal about the death sentence for defendant Ho Duy Hai on May 8, public opinion Vietnam of all classes constantly voiced feedback, criticized and called on the authorities to re-investigate, even dismissing the positions of 17 judges who “voted” for the final outcome of the case. There are so many serious mistakes.
In an analysis on his personal Facebook page about the reasons for the people’s indignation towards the SPCJ Council, mathematic doctor Nguyen Ngoc Chu said that this incident “made a fatal blow to the Vietnamese justice sector” by undermining the law of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 7 factors: disregard for laws, poor qualifications, independence, impartiality, breaking the basic standards of education, the fear of the people that they can become “Hồ Duy Hải” at any time, and it is detrimental to the Vietnamese judiciary.
Ho Duy Hai was sentenced to death for the allegation of murdering two female employees of the Cau Voi post office in Long An province in 2008, but Ho Duy Hai’s family has been complaining incessantly for the past 12 years.
Observing the double murder case from the first day, journalist Truong Chau Huu Danh expressed determination to pursue the case until “the truth is revealed.”
“The appeal of the Supreme People’s Court stated clearly and specifically 17 violations of the judgments against Ho Duy Hai. For me, just 1 out of 17 violations is clear enough to force a re-investigation,” the independent journalist from Vietnam told VOA.
In addition to the factors mentioned in the case file such as no fingerprints and other traces of Ho Duy Hai at the crime scene, no witnesses confirmed that Ho Duy Hai was present at Cau Post post office, journalist Truong Chau Huu Danh also experimentally calculated the amount of time that perpetrators committed rape and murder according to indictment.
“From a post office position to a fruit selling spot, get back and forth in just 5 minutes. Psychologically, no one has the purpose of rape by sending another person across the street to buy fruit to stay in for 5 minutes. It is very unreasonable to think about such motive (cause of crime),” said journalist Truong Chau Huu Danh.
Lawyer Le Tran Luat from the US analyzed the statement that the Cassation Review Council had made for the case:
The serious procedural violations did not change the nature of the case.
“When I was a lawyer in Vietnam, I was very” allergic to this judgment of the Trial panel: “Although there were many mistakes in the proceedings, it did not change the nature of the case.” Almost every judge uses this sentence to “cover” the procedural wrongdoings. I have repeatedly argued (outside of hearings) about this issue with the judges.”
I assert: “The violation of the proceedings does not change the objective truth but completely changes the NATURE of the case.”
The objective truth and the nature of the case are completely different. The nature of the case is to seek and prove objective truth. This process is called the “Process of proceedings.” This process may or may not work. But in order for this process to be objective and avoid subjective errors, a criminal procedure code has been set up, in which the principle of “innocent assumption” is the soul and the center. Therefore, I said, ‘wrongful proceedings will change the nature of the case.’ Back to Ho Duy Hai case: The process of proceedings with too many wrongs and lack of objective has led to weak evidence of ‘accusation,’ if not worthless. It is suspicious for everyone who follows the case.
The nature of the ‘murder case in Long An post office’ – I do not use the phrase ‘Ho Duy Hai case’ – because this is the process of finding and trying the real killer. This process may not have worked yet, but please do not knowingly make a mistake to find ‘results’ in Ho Duy Hai!
People are afraid that when declaring Ho Duy Hai did not commit a crime, they have to answer two questions: who is the culprit, where is the truth? Please the judges, please rest assured, even though the whole truth has not been found yet, you have found a more wonderful truth, that truth is that Ho Duy Hai did not commit that crime,” lawyer Le Tran Luat made comments.
From Saigon, Lawyer Dang Dinh Manh commented to VOA that the most important mistake in this case is a procedural violation.
“When they rejected the Procuracy’s appeal, they admitted there was a procedural error,” he said. But they think that mistake does not affect the nature of the case. In fact, legally, when there is a mistake, that is a violation of the proceedings, which makes the case itself unacceptable.
According to LS. Dang Dinh Manh, it is important to review a case to find out whether it is a procedural violation, rather than a “serious or minor violation.” Therefore, according to him, the Judicial Council of the SPC in this case “raised the wrong issue “and made a decision that made him and many people” extremely disappointed.”
“Ho Duy Hai case, even those who do not know the law also notice, care a lot. In fact, this is the occasion that through their actions and judgments, the SPC can help rebuild the faith of the people that over the past time, through injustice cases, have been greatly dented. Unfortunately, the opportunity to restore faith was missed.”
Dr. Nguyen Quang A, a news observer, and campaigner for civil society in Vietnam told VOA that Ho Duy Hai’s case was a “huge judicial scandal” that caused “shock” for the public in those days. Thereby, it shows ordinary people clearly the basic and serious mistakes, the incompetence of law enforcement, and the “corruption” of the Vietnamese judicial system.
“For the sake of the Communist Party of Vietnam itself, for the sake of the regime itself – the regime that I hate – they must act immediately,” Dr. Nguyen Quang A stressed.
“We keep talking about the separation of the three power branches but in Vietnam it doesn’t have such separation. In Vietnam, only the Communist Party rules and controls everything. So to say it all is the Communist Party of Vietnam and the head of the Communist Party of Vietnam are Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and top legislator Nguyen Thi Ngan. Those people if they want to protect their interests. their own must act immediately, and of course, within the framework of the procedure, it may not be very good, but for the current Vietnam, they have to do so,” Dr. Nguyen Quang A said.
The activist is also calling on people to sign the Ho Duy Hai Declaration which urges Vietnam’s authorities “to clarify the appeal of the Supreme People’s Procuracy and the National Assembly Legal Committee so the country’s law is implemented correctly to reduce legal miscarriages and punish those who abuse their power in the future,” Dr. A noted.