NA says innocence must be presumed hinh anh 1Procurator General Nguyen Hoa Binh (Source: VNA)
The legal principle of presuming those being investigated were innocent unless proven guilty must be respected until a verdict was announced, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee said at its regular meeting on August 13.

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

National Assembly’s 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 7.2 billion VND (330,000 USD) 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’s 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.-VNA