New law to improve civil compensation

07-Oct-2017 Intellasia | VNS | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Vietnam’s new law on State Compensation Liability is expected to create transparent mechanisms for compensating people mistreated by authorities, deputy minister of Justice Nguyen Khanh Ngoc said on Wednesday.

The law was adopted by the National Assembly in June and will go into effect next year.

Speaking at a Ministry of Justice meeting on preparations for implementing the law, deputy minister Ngoc said the 2017 State Compensation Liability law was expected to address shortcomings of the previous legislation adopted in 2009.

Nguyen Van Bon, director of the ministry’s State Compensation Department, said that under the new law, more people would be eligible for State compensation, including individuals or organisations harmed by officials in admnistrative, legal and law enforcement proceedings, their heirs or their representatives.

The law also extends the statute of limitations for initiating a lawsuit from two to three years. Compensation claims must be handled within 71 days instead of 125 days as regulated in the 2009 law.

The law stipulates that negotiations must be held between the plaintiffs and the State over compensation demands. Unsuccessful negotiations can then be followed by a lawsuit.

Some 250 claims were submitted under the 2009 law, but compensation was paid on time in only one case, whereas other claimants waited for a long time, even years. Authorities hope that shortening the mandatory handling of claims will alleviate this problem.

Under the new law, State employees involved in mistreatment of residents must pay a sum equal to 30-50 times their monthly salary if the mistreatment is not serious enough for them to be charged with a crime. The compensation under the previous law is limited to 30 times the official’s pay.

During the last seven years, officials only contributed about VND676 million ($30,000), or merely 6 per cent, to the total amount the State had to compensate residents.

The biggest number of compensation claims so far involve wrongdoing in judicial proceedings, together with misconduct in administrative management and law enforcement procedures. More than VND56 billion ($2.5 million), about half the total figure the government compensated the residents, were paid out in such claims.

The biggest settlement so farVND23 billion ($1 million)was paid under a November 2015 court order to Luong Ngoc Phi, wrongly convicted of tax evasion and appropriation of state property in 1999, who spent 15 years clearing his name.

Early this year, Huynh Van Nen from Binh Thuan Province, who spent 17 years in jail after being falsely convicted of two murders in the 1990s, was offered compensation of over VND10 billion. Nen is the only man in Vietnam to have been wrongfully convicted of two murders.

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