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NA says innocence must be presumed

Update: August, 14/2015 - 09:00
National Assembly Law Committee Chairman Phan Trung Ly said all suspects should be viewed as innocent instead of being marked guilty at the beginning of investigations by law enforcement officers, who then only focused on digging for evidence to convict. — VNA/VNS Photo Phuong Hoa

HA NOI (VNS) — The legal principle of presuming those being investigated were innocent unless proven guilty must be respected until a verdict was announced, the National Assembly Standing Committee said at its regular meeting yesterday.

This was part of discussions on amendments to the Penal Code brought up for discussion at the meeting.

Wrong thinking

National Assembly Law Committee Chairman Phan Trung Ly said all suspects should be viewed as innocent instead of being marked guilty at the beginning of investigations by law enforcement officers, who then only focused on digging for evidence to convict.

He said such thinking must be strictly banned to prevent wrong convictions, such as that of Nguyen Thanh Chan.

Chan spent up to 10 years in prison on a false murder charge until released and given compensation of about VND7.2 billion (US$330,000) in June.

Central Judicial Renovation Steering Committee Deputy Head Le Thi Thu Ba saw eye to eye with Ly, saying that the principle of innocence would help avoid negligence by legal forces.

"There are many cases in which the citizens have been mistakenly arrested. The police tried their best to find a crime to convict them," Ba said. "It is a violation of human rights."

Meanwhile, the proposal to make interrogations visually and voice recorded has been agreed to by the National Assembly Committee on Judicial Affairs. This is expected to ensure the transparency of the process and, at the same time, protect those interrogated from possible extortion, torture and being forced to make false statements.

The installation of CCTV and voice recording equipment at police stations and detention facilities was also financially practical, said the committee.

Detailed regulations on using the recording process - and their storage and use - needs to be worked out by the Supreme People's Procuracy and the Supreme People's Court, said Procurator General Nguyen Hoa Binh.

Military retirement

The retirement age for professional military people may be raised from 50 to 56 to take more advantage of their experience.

This is part of draft ordinance on military people and defence workers introduced to the National Assembly Standing Committee yesterday by the Deputy Defence Minister, senior lieutenant-general Do Ba Ty.

Under the draft, company grade officers can retire at 50, majors at 52 (male) and 54 (female), lieutenant-colonels at 54, senior lieutenant-colonel at 56 (male) and 55 (female). Other service people, including commandos, scouts, sports athletes and tank crewman can retire from the age of 35 to 40.

Ty said that under current regulations, professional military personnel and defence workers retired before they were 50, despite the fact that many were still healthy enough to continue working.

Moreover, early retirement made them ineligible for a retirement pension equal to 75 per cent of their salary because they had not paid social insurance for 35 years.

The draft also proposed policies tailored for professional military peo,ple and workers at offices and enterprises under the National Defence Ministry.

NA vice chairman Uong Chu Luu said the draft ordinance should be revised and upgraded to a draft law announced at the next NA meeting in October.

According to the legislative process, the National Assembly has authority to issue the constitution, laws and resolutions and the Standing Committee is entitled to issue ordinances and resolutions. The Government issues decrees. —  VNS

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