Chief of Hanoi People's Court accused of covering up his subordinates’ crimes

Lawyer Le Lan Hao says Nguyen Huu Chinh has ignored his accusations.
By RFA Vietnamese
Chief of Hanoi People's Court accused of covering up his subordinates’ crimes Thai Luong Tri (left), Chairman of the Board of Laos-Vietnam Mineral Joint Venture Company, on trial in Feb. 2022.
Bao Nghe An

A former senior official of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s Central Commission of Internal Affairs has accused the Chief Judge of the Hanoi People's Court, Nguyen Huu Chinh, of covering up the crimes of his subordinates who were handling a case that has lasted more than ten years. 

Lawyer Le Van Hoa defends two leaders of the Laos-Vietnam Mineral Joint Venture Company who were convicted by the People's Court of Ba Dinh District, Hanoi of "faking the seal" of the joint venture.  

In the third first-instance hearing this February, Thai Luong Tri, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company, was sentenced to 2 years, 10 months and 21 days, while Duong Minh Hai was sentenced to 4 years, 5 months and 12 days. The prison terms are equal to the time the two were detained for investigation in 2009. 

Lawyer Hoa said straight after the trial he sent a petition to the Supreme People's Procuracy and the Supreme People's Court to denounce the Trial Panel of the People's Court of Ba Dinh district and two individuals: Nguyen Quang Trung, Director of the People's Procuracy of Ba Dinh district and his deputy, Tran Manh Ha. He said they prosecuted two innocent individuals and ignored the crimes of others.

The lawyer also denounced the district court and the two officials for serious violations of the Criminal Procedure Code, 2015. He said according to its provisions, the district court does not have the authority to try Vietnamese people committing crimes abroad, only a provincial, city or higher court can do that.

 “The Supreme People's Procuracy transferred my denunciation to Nguyen Huu Chinh, Chief Judge of the Hanoi Court for settlement due to his competence,” Hoa told RFA.

 “For more than half a year [he] has not replied to my denunciation. Until today [he] did not answer whether or not [he would consider] my petition, so I think [he] is seriously violating the law by covering up [for] his subordinates,” the lawyer said, adding that he had sent his petition to leaders of the Communist Party, the State and other authorities as part of his denunciation of Chinh.

'Forging the seal of Laos'

Hoa told RFA the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuracy are also guilty of letting the People's Court of Ba Dinh district hear the case of "forging the seal of Laos."

In this case, board chairman Thai Luong Tri is considered the main defendant. He is from Nghe An province, and a director of the Thai Duong Company, which is based in the province.

Hoa said according to Vietnamese law, the People's Court of Nghe An province should have been the body to hear Tri's case.

He added that his clients are completely innocent and said he would maintain his defense in the upcoming appeal session to be held by the People's Court of Hanoi.

Hoe said he will use the evidence that the Ministry of Security of Laos has an official document confirming Tri and Hai did not use a fake seal for the joint venture.

He said the document, dated May 30, confirms the seal of the Laos-Vietnam Mineral Joint Stock Company, which was used to sign the investment contract between the Lao government and the company in 2008, was made "in accordance with the rules and regulations."

The translation of the statement is stamped with a consular legalization certificate from the Vietnamese Embassy in Laos.

To verify the information, RFA contacted Chief Judge Nguyen Huu Chinh, the Deputy Chief Procurator of the People's Procuracy of Ba Dinh District Tran Manh Ha and the Deputy Chief Judge of the People's Court of Bac Tu Liem district Le Thi Minh Hue, who presided over the trial in February, but none of them answered the phone.

Hoa's 10-year defense

Over the past 10 years, lawyer Hoa has successfully defended Thai Luong Tri and Duong Minh Hai from charges of "abusing trust to appropriate property" related to the investment of Thai Duong Co. in a mine in Xiangkhouang Province, Laos.

In the first instance court on July 14, 2011, the Hanoi People's Court convicted Tri and Hai of "abusing trust to appropriate property" and "Forging the seal of Laos" and sentenced Tri to 23 years in prison and Hai to 17 years in prison.

More than two years later, the Supreme People's Court annulled the first-instance judgment for a re-investigation.

In 2016, Tri and Hai were respectively sentenced to 20 years in prison and 15 years in prison for the two crimes. However, in the second appeal hearing a year later, the Higher People's Court in Hanoi annulled the second-instance judgment and requested a re-investigation.

In 2019, the Security Investigation Agency of the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam stopped the investigation into the allegations of "abuse of trust to appropriate property" against the two men.

Only the charge of "Forging the seal of Laos" remained and the Supreme People's Procuracy transferred this case to the People's Court of Ba Dinh district for trial.

Tri and Hai were detained for a total of eight years and were later released on bail.

The Ba Dinh District Court handed down the same judgement to the two men for "Forging seals and documents of organizations and agencies" which Hoa said made him think that this is a form of legalizing the detention of his two clients.

In 2012, when he was a deputy director of the Internal Affairs Department of the party’s Central Office, Hoa said he discovered wrongdoing in the case of Thai Luong Tri. In December that year he proposed that the Politburo take charge of clarifying his concerns.

Hoa renounced his communist party membership in 2017 "to protest against the leaders of the Central Office and the Central Commission for Internal Affairs for failing to deal with his petition in the Thai Luong Tri case."


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