State President pushes for judicial reform

The Central Steering Board for Judicial Reform convened its 15th session in Hanoi on August 28 to discuss the establishment of a national lawyers’ organisation and regional courts of first instance, the reduction of death penalties, and review the implementation of a Politburo resolution on judicial reform
Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong, who is also deputy head of the board, presented a report outlining the judicial sector’s tasks in the remaining months of this year and the next year. Accordingly, priority will be given to finalising the draft law on the execution of court rulings and amendments to some articles of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedures Code. In addition, the judicial sector will continue to perfect institutions to meet the requirements of its reform, complete judicial support mechanisms, enhance the monitoring of judicial activities and improve the capacity building of the board.
Deputy Minister of Justice Dinh Trung Tung presented a report, proposing the establishment of a national lawyers’ organisation. Mr Tung said it is high time to establish such an organisation in Vietnam based on a legal foundation as well as objective and subjective conditions. He said the scheme aims to implement the policy of socialising judicial support activities and strengthen self-management activities of the lawyers’ organisation in line with the 2001 Lawyers Ordinance. Joining the organisation is compulsory for all lawyers, he added.
Delegates reviewed the implementation of Resolution No 49 of the Party Politburo on judicial reform and a scheme to strengthen district-level courts and develop human resources for grassroots-level courts.
Discussing the establishment of regional courts of first instance, the board stressed the need to finalise the scheme with a detailed roadmap for implementation as it is directly related to amendments to the legal system. Currently, Vietnam’s court system is comprised of the Supreme People’s Court, grassroots-level People’s Courts, and Military Courts. According to the Party Politburo resolution, the court system will see big changes in its organisational structure. Grassroots-level courts will be replaced with regional Courts of First Instance and Courts of Appeals. As a result, once these regional courts are established, Vietnam will amend the Constitution, the Law on Organisation of the People’s Court and the Ordinance on organisation of the Military Court.
State President Nguyen Minh Triet, who is also head of the board, proposed increasing budget for judicial reform and providing essential facilities for the local People’s Courts and People’s Procuracies to ensure their efficient operations.
He asked the Supreme People’s Court to study carefully the establishment of regional Courts of First Instance before being submitted for consideration. He also proposed reducing death penalties imposed on drug-related and economic criminals.
He agreed on the scheme to establish the national lawyers organisation and assigned the Ministry of Justice, the Vietnam Fatherland Front and the Vietnam Lawyers’ Association to prepare for the establishment of the organisation, which will be under the Ministry of Justice.
Mr Triet also announced the Politburo’s decision to appoint Nguyen Van Hien, a member of the Party Central Committee and former chief judge of the Supreme People’s Court as deputy head of the Central Steering Board for Judicial Reform.