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NA Members Vow to Tighten Petition Handling

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Enhancement of inspection measures and measures against violators involved in abuses of power that lead to injustices in resolving disputes and court cases became a hot topic at the ongoing National Assembly (NA) debate.

NA members at the ongoing 2nd ordinary session of the 8th National Assembly legislature were debating the draft amendment to the Law on Handling Petitions.

Thirteen NA members gave their opinions on the draft amendment to the law, which was introduced to the NA session for consideration yesterday.

The latest amendment to the law was made in 2014 but it has been amended again to be compliant with the constitution and other laws such as the Law on National Assembly, and the Law on Local People’s Councils.

The latest amendment was made last year and led to the improved role and obligations of the concerned authorities.

At the debate with NA Vice President Somphanh Phengkhammy presiding, 104 of 116 NA members present voted for the approval of the draft while 10 members did not approve it and two members were neutral.

The current law (2014 law) contains 64 articles, while the draft amendment (2016 law) has one article less than the promulgated one.

Both the promulgated law and draft amendment include three types of petitions: a request, which is presented to a state administrative body, a claim, which is presented to an investigating orgnisation, the Office of the Public Prosecutor or the People’s Court, and a petition for justice, which is presented to the local people’s council and the National Assembly.

Speaking at the debate on the draft amendment, NA member for Vientiane, Mr Saithong Keoduangdy praised the draft, saying this would prevent the presentation of a petition to several organisations at the same time.

Meanwhile, he noted the reason for presenting a petition for justice needs to be identified, saying this related to investigating officials, prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement teams.

Our National Assembly and local people’s councils have to enhance their inspection. The law should make details about this, Mr Saithong said.

If we don’t do so, those people who used to earn money from dealing with court cases will continue to take advantage of the situation, he added.

Mr Saithong agreed with the NA vice president’s call for the punishment of judges who have been involved in offences or injustices. He said judges sometimes make the right judgment in accordance with the law but the decisions are not accurately supported by the facts.

He explained that non-factual decisions come about as a result of misconduct by information providers such as investigating officials, who change the information or testimony. He reminded the session about a case where investigating officials removed a document from the whole set provided by one party to the case.

Punishment should be meted out on the officials concerned, Mr Saithong said.

He also wanted inspections to focus on judges whose judgments made parties to the lawsuit continue to appeal consecutively.

The draft stipulates in Article 28, that the period for presenting a petition for justice to local people’s councils and the National Assembly is within 60 days from the date the concerned person is informed of the final decision of the public administrative authority or the final decision of the court.

NA member for Champassak province, Mr Meksavanh Phomphithak proposed the time limit for the acceptance of a reconsideration of a petition be extended, mentioning a time period of 30 years as is the practice in Vietnam.

NA member for Attapeu province, Mr Phetkeo Heuangpanya said he wanted the higher authorities to better define this law when it comes to dealing with petitions concerning disputes between individuals and local authorities.

 

Source: Vientiane Times