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Equality must be at the heart of judicial reform: President

Update: January, 31/2015 - 09:34
President Truong Tan Sang at the conference. — Photo Nguyen Khang

HA NOI (VNS) — President Truong Tan Sang yesterday said draft amendments to the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code must reflect the principle of justice and equality while protecting the interests of the State and people.

Sang was chairing a session of the Central Steering Committee for Judicial Reform in Ha Noi which was reviewing reports on amendments to legal documents.

A representative from the Ministry of Justice said one of the major amendments related to reducing the the number of death sentence. The ministry said the amendment aimed at imposing death penalty on only serious crimes so that the principle of respecting human rights was realised.

The death sentence amendments are also aimed at bringing Vietnamese law in line with world trends.

Regarding a proposal to include more kinds of crimes in law documents, the drafting committee said it believed it was more necessary to focus and regulate current kinds of crimes.

Some important amendments were also suggested for the Criminal Procedure Code, including the right of people arrested to refuse to give evidence that was against their interests.

The current Criminal Procedure Code states that the court has the duty to bear the burden of proof and the right to collect evidence. Meanwhile, defendants have the right to, but are not obliged, to prove they are innocent.

Many participants at the session suggested that the law should be amended so that it clearly states that those arrested and defendants have the right not to provide evidence that are against them.

President Sang said the draft amendments would improve Viet Nam's legal system and provide better protection for human rights.

He said the law amendment projects should be completed soon. — VNS

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