Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Section E. Necessary rights and means of defence
Viet Nam’s Judicature Law (2001) states: “Any individual has the right to defend themselves in court.”
Viet Nam’s Ordinance on Organization of the Military Courts (2002) states: “The military courts [shall] ensure the right to defence of defendants.”
Viet Nam’s Criminal Procedure Code (2003) states: “[A]ccused and defendants shall have the right to defend themselves or ask other persons to defend them.”
Viet Nam’s Criminal Procedure Code (2015), which is applicable to the prosecution of war crimes, states:
Article 16. Guarantee of right of defense for accused persons and protection of legal rights and benefits of defendants and litigants
A[n] accused person is entitled to defend himself or be defended by a lawyer or another person.
Competent procedural authorities and persons are responsible for informing accused persons, defendants and litigants of all of their rights of defense, legitimate rights and benefits according to this Law. Moreover, competent procedural authorities and persons shall provide explanations and guarantee the implementation of all of such rights and benefits.
Article 26. Assurance of oral arguments in [the] adjudication process
During the charges, investigation, prosecution [and] adjudication, investigators, prosecutors, persons authorized to institute proceedings, defendants, defense counsels and other persons participating in proceedings are equally entitled to present and evaluate evidence and make requests for clarification of objective truths of the lawsuit.
Documents and evidence from the case file, brought to [t]he [P]rocuracy to the Court for trial, must be sufficient and legitimate. All relevant persons, as defined by this Law, must attend a criminal Court. Absence must be because of force majeure or objective obstacles or other situations according to this Law. The Court is responsible for supporting prosecutors, defendants, defense counsels and other participants in legal proceedings to exercise all of their rights and duties and provoke oral arguments in [a] democratic and equal manner before the Court.
All evidence of guilt and innocence, aggravation and mitigation of criminal liabilities, citation of Points, Sections or Articles in the Criminal Code for determination of defendants’ crimes, sentences, compensations, and handling of proof and other facts essential to the lawsuit must [be] done, argued and specified in court.
The Court’s judgments and rulings must be subject to the inspection and assessment of evidence and oral arguments in court.
Article 60. Suspects
1. Suspects are physical persons or juridical persons facing criminal charges. The rights and duties of juridical persons as suspects are executed by their legal representatives according to this Law.
2. Suspects are entitled to:
b) Be informed or explained about their rights and duties as per this Article;
c) Acquire decisions on charges against suspects and amendments to such decisions; written approvals of such decisions or amendments; decisions on enforcement, change or termination of preventive and coercive measures; final reports of investigation; decisions on suspension and suspension of investigations; decisions [on] suspension and suspension of lawsuits; charges, decisions on prosecution and other decisions on legal proceedings according to this Law;
d) Give statements and opinions …
dd) Present evidence, documents, items and requests;
e) Confer on relevant evidence, documents and items and request authorized procedural persons to check and evaluate such;
g) Requisition expert examinations, valuation[,] changes of authorized procedural persons, expert witnesses, valuators, interpreters and translators;
h) Defend themselves or be defended;
j) Read and write digital documents or copies of such regarding charges and vindication or other copies related to their defense, upon request, after the end of investigations;
k) Complain about authorized procedural persons’ decisions and actions of legal procedure.
Article 61. Defendants
1. Defendants are physical persons or juridical persons tried as per a Court’s decision. The rights and duties of defendants as suspects are executed by their legal representatives according to this Law.
2. Defendants are entitled to:
c) Be informed and explained about their rights and duties as per this Article;
d) Petition for expert examinations, valuation[s], change of authorized procedural persons, expert witnesses, valuators, interpreters, translators, summoning of witness testifiers, crime victims, individuals having duties and interests from the lawsuit, expert witnesses, valuators, other participants in legal proceedings and authorized procedural persons to the Court;
dd) Present evidence, documents, items and requests;
e) Confer on relevant evidence, documents[and] items and request authorized procedural persons to inspect and assess such;
g) Defend themselves or be defended;
h) Give statements and opinions …
k) Give [a] final statement prior to the deliberation of judgments;
l) Read the Court’s report and request amendments to the Court’s report;
n) Complain about competent procedural authorities and persons’ decisions and legal proceedings;
o) Other rights as per the laws.
Article 71. Responsibilities for announcement and explanation of rights and duties of participants in proceedings and assurance of their execution of such obligations and rights
If a[n] accused person or aggrieved is entitled to legal aid as per the Law on legal aid, competent procedural authorities and persons are responsible for elucidating their right of legal aid. If such person petitions for legal aid, competent procedural authorities and persons shall promptly inform a Governmental legal aid center.