Vietnamese justice: People have to fight for a long time for it to have independent

The land petitioners-defendants at the Dong Tam appeal hearing on March 9, 2021

Many members of the National Assembly of Vietnam in recent days have made many comments related to the current judiciary.

A typical example is a speech of delegate Truong Trong Nghia of the Ho Chi Minh City parliament delegation during the discussion session on the report of the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuracy on March 30: “If fair trials are ensured, people do not have to watch Chinese films about folklore Legenda judge Bao Zheng.”

In the opinion of Mr. Truong Trong Nghia, the principle of presumption of innocence and the principle of judgment based on the results of arguments in court has not been fully applied.

Besides, Mr. Nghia raised the situation of suspects who died while in custody and temporary detention. He thinks that even if the cause is suicide, this is still a defect of the judicial and police authorities.

In the same discussion, National Assembly member Luu Binh Nhuong of the Ben Tre delegation also raised the view that the phenomenon of “conciliation under the blade” and “pressure in conciliation” are still in judicial activities.

Previously, National Assembly member Nguyen Thi Viet Nga of Hai Duong delegation, during the discussion session on March 29, expressed pain when the belief of the people was affected by some corrupted officials and the consequences are even greater than the economic damage.

Also in the cycle of negative corruption, the legal protection sectors are also unavoidable, including the Procuracy of the Court, even the Police investigation. Negative problems in many forms still exist, said Mr. Le Van Cuong

Talking with RFA on the evening of March 31, lawyer Dang Dinh Manh from Saigon said:

The parliamentarians’ examples regarding the law enforcement situation of Vietnam have absolutely legal basis and are true to the current situation.

Not only people but the government knows this problem and now it is still struggling to solve it.”

Parliamentarian Luu Binh Nhuong when commenting before the National Assembly also raised the thought that determining the rate of injustice and wrong cases is “very dangerous.” Therefore, Mr. Nhuong asked to pay attention to this issue.

Commenting on the issue just mentioned, Standing Member of the National Defense – Security Committee Nguyen Thanh Hong said “Because of injustice, we should propose solutions, set targets and goals for solving. We do not have to give out norms to admit the judiciary we have injustice.”

According to the Chief Justice of the Hanoi People’s Court Nguyen Huu Chinh, in the term report of the Supreme People’s Court, there is no wrong norm, only the rate of cancellation and the judgment must be corrected in accordance with the law.

From the explanation just mentioned, Chief Justice Nguyen Huu Chinh said that Mr. Nhuong analyzed other issues that led to misunderstandings about wrong quotas.

Mr. Le Van Cuong, member of the 11th and the 12th National Assembly, raised the current reality:

The implementation of Vietnamese justice under the pressure of public opinion as well as the direction of the Party and State has also made progress on wrong judgments, activities that meet judicial reforms.

However, also in the machinery of negative corruption, the legal protection sectors are also unavoidable. Including the Procuracy of the Court, even the Police investigation. Negative problems in many forms still exist.”

Parliamentarian Luu Binh Nhuong

From Hanoi, Dr. Nguyen Quang A, a longtime civil society activist, thinks that the comments made in the seminar only state current points, and the root cause is still not mentioned in detail.

The judicial independence must be based on all independent courts and judges and the judgment must be made by law and litigation in the courts.”

Dr. Nguyen Quang A said that the judges should not participate in any political organization. In practice, however, all judges in Vietnam are currently members of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is a member of the Politburo.

Therefore, Dr. A said that the desire for an independent court must still be a long struggle. He argued:

The judicial system must be completely not under the control of any political organization, so is an independent court. The role of the lawyers must be upheld and principled.

For example, innocence has to be exercised, no matter who violates it when they try to blame people without clear evidence, then those judges have to be kicked out of court.

People have to speak up stronger, social organizations have to speak up stronger for that time to change.”

Agreeing that it is necessary to strengthen the supervision of the people as well as the authorities to promptly detect negative manifestations and handle them promptly, Mr. Le Van Cuong proposed to improve the judiciary:

The important issue is how to make the investigation, prosecute and adjudication transparent, avoid a closed circle, promote independence in the judiciary field, avoid the interference of all levels or outside.

Second, the quality of the staff must be raised, they have to be knowledgeable and professional.

The third is to uphold integrity in judicial activities because this is the eyes and ears, the support of the Party and the people, the balance of justice.”

According to Lawyer Dang Dinh Manh, the current legal situation in Vietnam is not perfect because there are still many countries in the world having this problem. However, it is worth mentioning that, according to him:

Particularly in Vietnam, there is another thing that the law is not perfect and the executor does not have the spirit of complying with the law. This is the most remarkable thing, pushing the legal situation of Vietnam into a very precarious state, and people have almost lost confidence in the trial system and law enforcement in general.”

Therefore, from the perspective of a lawyer, Mr. Manh believes that the amendment and supplementation of legal provisions are necessary but not too necessary at this time because building a complete law is actually a long-term process, not overnight.

At the same time, officials and employees only need to enforce existing laws with the spirit of the law, which also helps the country’s legal situation a lot.

They need to have good law enforcement, comply with the existing law and the state must be the agency that makes sure that all officers and employees, especially executive officers in the judiciary branch to respect the laws. If possible, it would be very good for the people.”

Mr. Le Van Cuong also said that Vietnam needs to train staff who should be not only knowledgeable in their profession but also have integrity, not be involved in wrongdoing, corruption, or bribery. (Translated)


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