Top judge explains settlement of wrong convictions

Friday, 2015-03-13 22:03:32
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Chief Judge of the Supreme People’s Court Truong Hoa Binh
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NDO/VNA - Chief Judge of the Supreme People’s Court Truong Hoa Binh explained in detail to the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee the settlement of wrongful convictions during a live-broadcast question-and-answer session in Hanoi on March 13.

Answering NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung’s questions on the responsibility of judges when giving out wrong convictions, Binh said they may face suspension of reappointment, criminal proceedings or financial fines, depending on the seriousness of their mistakes.

NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, in conclusion, said courts are to blame if any citizen is given a wrong conviction. Those who are to be held accountable are judges, chair of the trial, and the jury panel, with Chief Judge of the Supreme People’s Court holding the highest political responsibility.

The chief judge reported that the Supreme People’s Court has joined an inter-sectoral team grouping the Supreme People’s Procuracy and the Ministry of Public Security to handle requests for reinvestigation in 35 cases with sentences ranging from 20 years in prison to capital punishment, which were tried during the 13th tenure of the National Assembly.

According to Binh, the joint inspection found no grounds for retrial in 21 cases, while three other cases were referred for review in order to clarify the characteristics and levels of law violations. The remaining 11 cases are still being scrutinized, he said.

Besides the poor capacity of judges, Binh said another reason for wrongful convictions in criminal cases was the dependence on documents and evidence supplied by the investigative agency.

To reduce wrongful convictions, he emphasized the need to enhance the role and responsibility of lawyers rights at the start of a criminal case, while more training in both morals and professional skills should be given to court staff.

During the session, Binh also spoke at length about five criminal cases of public concern that involve murder, asset robbery, child rape, and deliberate destruction of assets, including the settlement of a wrongful murder conviction against Nguyen Thanh Chan, 55, from the northern province of Bac Giang.