Feb 23, 2013

Vietnam - Vietnam will have Constitutional Council or Constitutional Court?

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VietNamNet Bridge - The Constitutional Council should be renamed into the Constitutional Court and it must have the right to make decision, not only give general recommendations, members of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front suggested at a meeting on the draft amendments to the Constitution of 1992.

The draft amendment adds a new chapter referring to the Constitutional Council, the National Election Council and the State Audit Agency.

Accordingly, "the Constitutional Council examines the constitutionality of the legal documents" and has the function of "asking the National Assembly to reconsider its legal documents when constitutional violations are detected" and "asking the President, the National Assembly Standing Committee, the Government… to amend and supplement legal documents ... "

At the meeting on February 19 of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, many people proposed to change the name of the Constitutional Council into the Constitutional or Judicial Court and give this agency more substantive power.

Former Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Pham Xuan Hang said that this is a new institution, appearing for the first time in Vietnam’s Constitution as an agency supervising the implementation of state power, to ensure the correctness and upheld the Constitution. This provision has approached to the mechanism of power assignment and power control in the state of law that many countries have had for many centuries.

However, the draft only prescribes the right of giving "recommendations" of the Constitutional Council, not the power to make "judgment" on the law, legal documents and decisions that are inconsistent with the Constitution of State agencies.

Hang stressed that with such power, this agency is only an advisory body of the National Assembly, not the institution of power control and it is inability to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution.

Hang proposed to change its name into "Constitutional Council" that has jurisdiction for laws, and decisions that are inconsistent with the Constitution of all state agencies.

Former Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front--Le Truyen, also proposed that the Constitutional Council must have independent status, be empowered.

Prof. Nguyen Lang added that whether this agency is named the Constitutional Council or the Constitutional Court or any name, it must have the power to make decision not to raise recommendations.

Many other participants supported this viewpoint.

Also at the conference, many delegates expressed their views on human rights, the role of monitoring and social critic of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and especially land ownership.

Mr. Nguyen Tien Vo said that it is time for the Constitution to not avoid the issues related to land privatization to meet actual demand. Because 20 years ago, when the Constitution 1992 was compiled, the National Assembly Chairman Le Quang Dao mentioned this issue but it was neglected. If it is also neglected this time, it will have to wait another 20 years.

All comments of the participants will be sent to the constitution compilation committee.

Le Nhung

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