Judicial reform and land policy: two basic proposals for Vietnam’s National Assembly

On March 30, Saigon-based civil society organization Le Hieu Dang Club sent an open letter to the 14th National Assembly with the proposal of judicial reform and land ownership policy. Why is it necessary to have these reforms?

National Assembly Meeting on March 24, 2021

A letter to the 14th National Assembly of Vietnam states the content of Article 69 of the 2013 Constitution: “The National Assembly is the highest representative body of the people, the highest body of state power of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The National Assembly exercises constitutional and legislative powers, decides important issues of the country, and exercises supreme oversight over the activities of the State.”

Therefore, Le Hieu Dang Club believes that the 11th session of the 14th National Assembly has an important meaning that all classes of people in the country hope to have new something worth calling for renewal and reality.

Le Hieu Dang Club affirmed that, if the basic policy line remains unchanged without crucial reform, everything will also go to a standstill.

Talking to RFA on the evening of April 1, Mr. Le Than, chairman of the Le Hieu Dang Club, clarified the purpose of the letter to the National Assembly:

Hundreds of thousands of things have to be solved, not one or two things, but now let’s start solving something that can gradually change Vietnamese society and Vietnamese institutions go into the two most pressing issues of judicial reform and land policy.”

Analyzing more clearly on each of these issues, Mr. Le Than said that the current Vietnamese justice is based on a will of a group of people or individuals, not based on promulgated laws. Therefore:

If there is no judicial reform, the injustice happens all the time. If there is no judicial reform, all state officials and Party members will continue to be kings in their respective segments. So there is a judicial reform that cannot be left to the current style.

Everyone knows that a verdict is based on investigative evidence, but the investigation is flawed, the head of the judiciary knows that the investigation is flawed, but the nature of the case has not changed. When they say that, they undermine the judiciary.”

The letter to the National Assembly of the Le Hieu Dang Club also mentioned the situation of many injustice cases and many “pocket cases,” especially those related to politics or economy in which there is a power dispute between factions.

Besides, according to Mr. Le Than, the unfair judicial situation is also reflected in the fact that when the lawyer argues, the judge also works under the resolution on pre-determined judgments.

There is no role of lawyers, that is, the issue of clarifying the unconditional sentence is how to handle it well. In Vietnam now the role of the lawyers is, after all, just a decoration for the regime.”

From Saigon, civil society activist Tran Bang said that if Vietnam wants an independent judiciary, Vietnam needs to change:

That justice cannot be under the party which grabs all power. Because in disputes, social conflicts between individuals and organizations or between people and the government, maybe the people are right, the government is wrong, but the court is subordinate to the government in terms of the party and all judges are party members, how do they judge above the superior in the party committee?

Citing information from state agencies, Le Hieu Dang Club said that up to 80% of the people’s complaints are related to land.

According to Le Hieu Dang club’s observations, in fact, about 80% of the disciplined cases involved officials at all levels from the local to the central level, including the high-ranking generals and members of the Politburo, the most powerful body of the country. The larger the scale of land corruption, there are more complicated and difficult.

Vietnam’s newly-elected National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue sworn in on March 31, 2021

From there it is clear that the unreasonable land policy, which has offended the people, corrupted the state apparatus with a degree of incurability.

Mr. Le Than commented that the land is the source of all corruption and the source of all injustice, so for a better society, it is necessary to solve the problem of land policy.

Now the land law is the law of robbery, not the law of the land. Without changing the land law, corruption is widespread, from low to high, corruption is everywhere and farmers in particular, people, in general, are always at a disadvantage, being robbed of land.”

With the above-mentioned fact, Mr. Le Than affirmed that the current land policy has resulted in conditions for increasing corruption, never-ending because, in his opinion, land corruption is rampant everywhere.

Activist Tran Bang points out why land has become a hot problem in decades:

When the economy develops, land has value. At that time, the land law as well as the provision that land as the ownership of the entire people in the Constitution was no longer suitable, does not meet the market economy’s requirements, because, with the market economy, everything is a commodity and must have an owner.

If the state of all-people ownership remains when the state plans to do some projects, the state will use the power of the state, the police, the military, the courts, the judiciary, and the government to grab land from ordinary people. It is too obvious a form of legal expropriation of an individual or organization’s property.”

In addition to the need for judicial reform and land ownership policy, Le Hieu Dang Club expressed that the National Assembly is also the agency that needs to change in operation, particularly the election.

Accordingly, Le Hieu Dang Club proposed that the National Assembly should propose that each elected title must have two or more candidates for the National Assembly to choose to vote by secret ballot.

Mr. Le Than explained this issue as follows:

There is only one person in the election, for example, the election of Mr. Hue for the Chairman of the National Assembly, if you will not vote, so what do you do?

In the case of Mr. Hue, there is no real election but appointment but only elected individuals feel responsible for their duties.”

The Vietnamese National Assembly began the process of appointments for the new cabinet from March 30 to April 8.

On the afternoon of April 1, the National Assembly heard the General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong read the report, proposing to dismiss Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc from the prime minister’s position. The formal approval of the parliament will be made on the morning of April 2.

The state-controlled media previously quoted General Secretary, Chairman of the National Assembly Office Nguyen Hanh Phuc as saying Phuc was introduced to be the President of the country.

This is said to be the first time the National Assembly has elected an incumbent prime minister to be the state president.

Thoibao.de (Translated)

Source: https://www.rfa.org/vietnamese/in_depth/judicial-reform-and-land-policy-two-basic-proposals-for-the-national-assembly-04012021162610.html