- Lan Chi Le, Yen Hai Hoang, Hang Thanh Bui, Duc Quang Nguyen, Son Thanh Mai & Hai Thanh Luong
- Asian Journal of Criminology volume 17, pages55–73 (2022)Cite this article
- Open Access Published:
Wrongful convictions have severe consequences and effects on the values, dignity, and self-esteem of the innocent and their beloved ones. While Vietnam is implementing the rule of law to ensure the protection of citizens’ fundamental rights, recent and serious wrongful conviction cases suggest a need to enhance the effectiveness and credibility of criminal justice reform. Using several cases for examples from Vietnam, this study examines two levels of factors that contribute to wrongful convictions: (i) the acknowledged causes (the top of the iceberg) and (ii) the hidden roots (beneath the surface). In addition, we compare the case of Vietnam to the findings from other Asian nations, notably those of East Asia. We conclude that the causes for wrongful convictions are embedded in the criminal justice process and culture, and eradication of wrongful convictions requires careful planning and innovative reforms that address the root causes of the problems. Relevant policy and practical recommendations are offered to deal with the factors leading to wrongful convictions in Vietnam.
In recent years, Vietnam’s criminal justice system has been more effective in addressing human rights and responding to transnational crimes and maintaining national security. New legislation in Vietnam’s criminal justice system sets the goals of safeguarding justice and human rights first and foremost, a component of which requires reduction of wrongful convictions. Wrongful convictions have weakened public trust in the criminal justice system, violated human rights, and affected the integrity of the rule of law. Yet, at the domestic level, wrongful convictions are still persistent.
Vietnamese legal scholars have started examining wrongful convictions, particularly after the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) called for judicial reforms in the 2000s (Dao, 2020; Thai, 2020). These scholars have paid little attention, however, to the fundamental reasons that lead to wrongful convictions. While the CPV encouraged the combination of inquisitorial and adversarial models in criminal proceedings, the legal ideology to identify and recognize hidden factors of wrongful convictions has not been seriously considered in the process. In other words, the hidden factors contributing to wrongful convictions are still not reviewed and assessed alongside the surface elements of wrongful convictions in Vietnam.
Tiếp tục đọc “Understanding Causes for Wrongful Convictions in Vietnam: a View from the Top and the Bottom of the Iceberg”