Vietnam - Judicial system
The judicial system of the SRV parallels that of the former DRV. The highest court in Vietnam is the Supreme People's Court, whose members are appointed for five-year terms by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the president. In addition, there are local people's courts at each administrative level; military courts; and "special courts" established by the National Assembly in certain cases. Law enforcement is handled by the People's Organs of Control; the president, or procurator-general, of this body is appointed by the National Assembly.
Although the constitution provides for the independence of judges and jurors, there is close control of the entire governmental system by the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) and a judicial selection process which favors appointment of jurists supportive of the VCP. Prison sentences are frequently imposed through administrative procedures without the protections of procedural due process or judicial review.
Trials are generally open to the public. Defendants have the right to be present at the trial, to have an attorney, and to cross-examine witnesses. The legal system is based on communist legal theory and French civil law. Rising crime, including violent robbery and extortion, in the cities, plus endemic corruption and smuggling, provide challenges for under-funded law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system.