Joint Circular 01/2022/TTLT-VKSNDTC-TANDTC-BCA-BQP-BLDTBXH coordination in settlement of denunciations about cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons

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Joint Circular No. 01/2022/TTLT-VKSNDTC-TANDTC-BCA-BQP-BLDTBXH dated February 18, 2022 of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the Supreme People’s Court, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs providing the coordination among competent agencies in the receipt and settlement of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals, investigation, prosecution and first-instance trial of cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons
Issuing body: Ministry of Public Security; Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs; Ministry of National Defence; People's Supereme Court; People's Supereme ProcuracyEffective date:
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Official number:01/2022/TTLT-VKSNDTC-TANDTC-BCA-BQP-BLDTBXHSigner:Nguyen Tri Tue; Nguyen Thi Ha; Nguyen Duy Giang; Nguyen Duy Ngoc; Vo Minh Luong
Type:Joint CircularExpiry date:Updating
Issuing date:18/02/2022Effect status:
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Fields:Criminal , Justice

SUMMARY

Coordination in first-instance trial of cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons

On February 18, 2022, the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the Supreme People’s Court, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs issue the Joint Circular No. 01/2022/TTLT-VKSNDTC-TANDTC-BCA-BQP-BLDTBXH providing the coordination among competent agencies in the receipt and settlement of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals, investigation, prosecution and first-instance trial of cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons.

Specifically, in the stage of first-instance trial, procuracies shall deliver files of cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons and indictments to courts for first-instance trial, and inform such to courts for the latter to arrange time for prompt and timely receipt of case files.

When participating in court hearings, proceeding-conducting persons and proceeding participants shall comply with regulations. In case of necessity to disclose at court hearings evidence and documents in the form of electronic data, or audio-recorded or audio video-recorded statements taken in the course of settlement of cases, procurators shall coordinate with judges presiding over court hearings in doing so. The disclosure of documents and evidence at court hearings shall be carried out in an objective and lawful manner.

Besides, for cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons involving foreign elements, if it is necessary to collect evidence and take statements of proceeding participants who are residing overseas, proceeding-conducting bodies shall exchange opinions and coordinate with the Supreme People’s Procuracy in performing judicial mandate in criminal matters.

This Joint Circular takes effect on April 5, 2022.

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TTXVN

THE SUPREME
PEOPLE’S PROCURACY-
THE SUPREME PEOPLE’S COURT -
THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SECURITY -
THE MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE -
THE MINISTRY OF LABOR, INVALIDS AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS

_______

 

THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
Independence - Freedom - Happiness

No. 01/2022/TTLT-VKSNDTC-TANDTC-BCA-BQP-BLDTBXH

 

Hanoi, February 18, 2022

 

JOINT CIRCULAR

Providing the coordination among competent agencies in the receipt and settlement of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals, investigation, prosecution and first-instance trial of cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons[1]

 

Pursuant to the November 27, 2015 Criminal Procedure Code; and the November 12, 2021 Law Amending and Supplementing a Number of Articles of the Criminal Procedure Code;

Pursuant to the November 26, 2015 Law on Organization of Criminal Investigation Bodies;

Pursuant to the June 22, 2015 Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents; and the June 18, 2020 Law Amending and Supplementing a Number of Articles of the Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents;

Pursuant to the National Assembly’s Resolution No. 121/2020/QH14 of June 19, 2020, on further improvement of effectiveness and efficiency of the implementation of policies and laws on prevention and control of assaults against children;

The Procurator General of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court, Minister of Public Security, Minister of National Defense, and Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs jointly provide the coordination among competent agencies in the receipt and settlement of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals, investigation, prosecution and first-instance trial of cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons.

 

Chapter I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1. Scope of regulation and subjects of application

1. This Joint Circular provides the coordination among competent agencies in implementing a number of provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code regarding the receipt and settlement of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals, investigation, prosecution and first-instance trial of cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons.

2. This Joint Circular applies to:

a/ Bodies and persons competent to conduct the proceedings;

b/ Labor, invalids and social affairs agencies at all levels and related agencies, organizations and individuals as specified by law;

c/ Persons against whom offense denunciations or criminal case initiation proposals are made, persons held in case of emergency, criminally charged persons, witnesses; and sexually assaulted under-18 persons.

Article 2. Coordination principles   

1. Strict compliance with regulations on functions, tasks and powers of coordinating agencies and organizations.

2. Regular, quick and prompt coordination.

3. Respect for, protection of, and guarantee of, human rights, honor, dignity, and other lawful rights and interests of sexually assaulted under-18 persons, persons against whom offense denunciations or criminal case initiation proposals are made, persons held in case of emergency, criminally charged persons, and witnesses.

4. Keeping of confidentiality of personal information of sexually assaulted under-18 persons and persons denouncing or reporting acts of sexual assault against under-18 persons.

5. Compliance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code and relevant legal documents.

Article 3. Responsibility for coordination of agencies, organizations and individuals

1. When participating in the settlement of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals, investigation, prosecution and first-instance trial of cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons, bodies and persons competent to conduct the proceedings; labor, invalids and social affairs agencies at all levels, and related agencies, organizations and individuals shall, within the ambit of their functions and tasks, closely coordinate with one another in:

a/ Keeping confidentiality of personal information of sexually assaulted under-18 persons; taking measures to promptly respond to and do away with possibilities that under-18 persons’ life, health, honor, dignity, and other lawful rights and interests are likely to be further infringed upon;

b/ Promptly collecting and preserving evidence and quickly providing medical examination and treatment or support for psychological stabilization for sexually assaulted under-18 persons, thereby ensuring the quick, timely and lawful settlement of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals, investigation, prosecution and first-instance trial of cases;

c/ Guaranteeing the right of under-18 persons to have representatives, defense counsels, and persons protecting lawful rights and interests in proceedings;

d/ Carrying out other activities in the course of settlement of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals, investigation, prosecution and first-instance trial of cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons in accordance with law.

2. When persons against whom offense denunciations or criminal case initiation proposals are made, criminally charged persons, witnesses, and sexually assaulted under-18 persons participate in proceedings, bodies and persons competent to conduct the proceedings shall coordinate with related agencies, organizations and individuals in protecting them and helping them feel secure in their learning and working activities and at the same time conveniently participate in proceedings.

Article 4. Guarantee of lawful rights and interests of under-18 persons in proceedings

The coordination in assigning guardians, representatives, legal aid providers, and defense counsels to participate in proceedings to protect lawful rights and interests of persons against whom offense denunciations or criminal case initiation proposals are made, criminally charged persons, and sexually assaulted under-18 persons must comply with Articles 8, 9 and 10 of Joint Circular No. 06/2018/TTLT-VKSNDTC-TANDTC-BCA-BTP-BLDTBXH of December 21, 2018, of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, Supreme People’s Court, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Justice, and Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, on coordination in the implementation of a number of provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code regarding procedures applicable to under-18 persons (below referred to as Joint Circular No. 06/2018).

Article 5. Collection, preservation, evaluation and use of evidence

1. Bodies and persons competent to conduct the proceedings and related agencies, organizations and individuals shall, within the ambit of their tasks and powers, closely coordinate with one another in collecting, preserving, evaluating and using evidence proving acts of sexual assault against under-18 persons.

2. Upon detecting acts of sexual assault against under-18 persons, competent agencies shall coordinate with medical examination and treatment establishments or competent persons in checking bodies of sexually assaulted persons to collect biological evidence to prove such acts.

3. The collection of evidence to prove acts of sexual assault against under-18 persons shall be carried out in a prompt manner right after detecting the commission of such acts in order to ensure collection of necessary traces and timely provision of emergency aid to sexually assaulted under-18 persons, thereby minimizing the number of times of taking statements of such persons. For cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons which occurred a long time ago, making it difficult to collect evidence and traces and identify crime scenes, investigation bodies and procuracies shall closely coordinate with each other right after receiving denunciations or reported information about offenses or criminal case initiation proposals in order to promptly collect, evaluate and use evidence. Superior investigation bodies and procuracies shall provide professional and legal guidance to and promptly answer inquiries of subordinate investigation bodies and procuracies in order to ensure the lawful settlement process.

 

Chapter II

COORDINATION IN THE STAGE OF RECEIPT AND SETTLEMENT OF DENUNCIATIONS OR REPORTED INFORMATION ABOUT OFFENSES AND CRIMINAL CASE INITIATION PROPOSALS, AND THE STAGE OF CASE INVESTIGATION 

Article 6. Receipt of denunciations or reported information about offenses or criminal case initiation proposals of bodies competent to conduct the proceedings

1. The receipt of denunciations or reported information about offenses or criminal case initiation proposals of bodies competent to conduct the proceedings must comply with Joint Circular No. 01/2017/TTLT-BCA-BQP-BTC-BNN&PTNT-VKSNDTC of December 29, 2017, of the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Supreme People’s Procuracy, providing the coordination among competent agencies in implementing a number of provisions of the 2015 Criminal Procedure Code regarding the receipt and settlement of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals (below referred to as Joint Circular No. 01/2017), and Joint Circular No. 01/2021/TTLT-BCA-BQP-BTC-BNN&PTNT-VKSNDTC of November 29, 2021, amending and supplementing a number of articles of Joint Circular No. 01/2017 (below referred to as Joint Circular No. 01/2021).

2. After accepting for settlement denunciations or reported information about offenses or criminal case initiation proposals, competent investigation bodies shall promptly notify such to district-level labor, invalids and social affairs agencies of localities where sexually assaulted under-18 persons reside or where cases of sexual assault occur for coordination in promptly rendering support to and protecting such persons in accordance with law.

Article 7. Receipt of denunciations or reported information about offenses from public security offices of communes, wards or townships, public security posts, public security stations, border-guard posts, and border-guard control stations in land border and coastal areas and on islands 

1. When receiving denunciations or reported information about offenses of sexual assault against under-18 persons, public security offices of communes, wards or townships, public security posts, and public security stations shall comply with Articles 5 and 6 of the Ministry of Public Security’s Circular No. 43/2021/TT-BCA of April 22, 2021, defining the responsibility of the People’s Public Security forces for carrying out a number of friendly criminal procedures in the course of receipt and settlement of denunciations or reported information about offenses or criminal case initiation proposals or investigation of cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons, Joint Circular No. 01/2017 and Joint Circular No. 01/2021.

2. When receiving denunciations or reported information about offenses of sexual assault against under-18 persons, border-guard posts and border-guard control stations in land border and coastal areas and on islands shall comply with Joint Circular No. 01/2017 and Joint Circular No. 01/2021.

In case it is necessary to rescue and protect under-18 Vietnamese people who are sexually assaulted in land border and coastal areas and on islands, border-guard posts and border-guard control stations in land border and coastal areas and on islands shall coordinate with competent authorities of bordering countries in rescuing and protecting them; and at the same time promptly notify such to competent investigation bodies and continue coordinating with and supporting the latter in further settling the case.

Article 8. Making criminal case initiation proposals by labor, invalids and social affairs agencies receiving reported information, notices or denunciations about acts of sexual assault against under-18 persons

1. When receiving reported information, notices or denunciations about acts of sexual assault against under-18 persons, labor, invalids and social affairs agencies at all levels and the national hotline for child protection (111) shall proceed with the procedures specified in the Government’s Decree No. 56/2017/ND-CP of May 9, 2017, detailing a number of articles of the Law on Children.

2. If receiving information and documents reporting on sexual assault against under-18 persons in their localities, labor, invalids and social affairs agencies shall send written proposals for criminal case initiation and supporting documents to competent investigation bodies and, at the same time, promptly notify such in writing to competent procuracies. Competent investigation bodies shall accept and settle criminal case initiation proposals and notify settlement results to labor, invalids and social affairs agencies in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code.

Article 9. Other agencies and organizations receiving reported information, notices or denunciations about acts of sexual assault against under-18 persons            

Right after detecting or receiving reported information, notices or denunciations about acts of sexual assault against under-18 persons, other agencies and organizations shall promptly transfer them to public security offices of communes, wards or townships, public security posts, public security stations or competent investigation bodies.

When receiving patients for medical examination and treatment, health establishments shall, within the ambit of their assigned functions and tasks, give priority to under-18 persons showing signs of being sexually assaulted in treatment of their injuries, and checking, recording, collection and preservation of traces on their bodies and, at the same time, notify such to and coordinate with competent agencies in accordance with the law on medical examination and treatment.

Article 10. Classification, examination and verification of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals          

1. The coordination among agencies in the classification, examination and verification of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals for acts of sexual assault against under-18 persons must comply with Joint Circular No. 01/2017 and Joint Circular No. 01/2021.

2. The examination, verification and collection of evidence shall be carried out in an expeditious manner and must create conditions for medical examination and treatment establishments, functional agencies and other social organizations to provide medical examination and treatment and support to sexually assaulted under-18 persons. Labor, invalids and social affairs agencies, expert assessment agencies and other functional agencies shall promptly assist competent investigation bodies and procuracies in the course of settlement of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals.

3. At least 7 days before the completion of the examination and verification or upon the expiration of the time limit for examination and verification of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals, investigators shall exchange opinions with procurators in reviewing and evaluating all collected evidence and documents. The coordination in evaluation of evidence shall be recorded in writing. If finding it necessary to add evidence, procurators shall request the prompt addition of evidence. If finding that evidence is contradictory and unclear, investigators shall continue collecting and adding evidence. In case the evidence evaluation is difficult, investigators and procurators shall report such to their leaderships for organization of the evaluation of collected evidence, ensuring that the examination and verification of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals for acts of sexual assault against under-18 persons are grounded and made within the law-specified time limit.

Article 11. Coordination in determination of age of under-18 persons against whom offense denunciations or criminal case initiation proposals are made, criminally charged persons, and sexually assaulted persons   

1. The determination of age of sexually assaulted persons or criminally charged persons under 18 years of age must comply with the order and procedures specified in Article 417 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Article 6 of Joint Circular No. 06/2018.

The determination of age of under-18 persons against whom offense denunciations or criminal case initiation proposals are made must comply with the relevant provisions of Clauses 1 and 2, Article 417 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and Clauses 1 and 2, Article 6 of Joint Circular No. 06/2018.

2. Agencies, organizations and individuals shall facilitate the provision of papers and documents specified in Joint Circular No. 06/2018 to competent investigation bodies to serve the determination of age of under-18 persons against whom offense denunciations or criminal case initiation proposals are made, criminally charged persons and sexually assaulted persons.

Article 12. Coordination in crime scene examination, autopsy and examination of traces on bodies    

1. The coordination in crime scene examination, autopsy and examination of traces on bodies is provided as follows:

a/ The order and procedures for crime scene examination and autopsy must comply with Articles 201 and 202 of the Criminal Procedure Code;

b/ Before carrying out a crime scene examination or an autopsy, in-charge investigators shall provide information related to contents subject to the examination to procurators for carrying out the supervision. Investigators shall exchange opinions with procurators, expert witnesses and persons having professional expertise when detecting, recording, seizing and preserving traces, exhibits and documents at crime scenes and from corpses in the course of examination in order to ensure the lawful examination;

c/ Procurators shall exchange opinions with investigators on contents for which traces, exhibits and documents need to be detected, recorded, seized and preserved at crime scenes and from corpses. In case they cannot reach agreement on contents for which evidence needs to be collected, procurators and investigators shall report such to their leaderships for prompt handling under regulations.

2. The coordination in the examination of traces on bodies of persons held in emergency cases, criminally charged persons and sexually assaulted under-18 persons must comply with Article 203 of the Criminal Procedure Code and minimize repeated examination for sexually assaulted under-18 persons.

The process of examination of traces on bodies and expert assessment shall be fully recorded in minutes of examination of traces on bodies with injury positions marked and photos of injury traces taken. If seeing that sexually assaulted persons show signs of abnormal psychology or panic disorder, their parents or family members, psychologists, persons currently responsible for managing, caring for and educating them, or same-level labor, invalids and social affairs agencies, women’s unions and youth unions of localities where sexual assault is detected may be invited to help them overcome the situation.

Article 13. Coordination in solicitation of expert assessment

1. Investigation bodies shall:

a/ Promptly issue decisions on solicitation of expert assessment when having grounds to believe that under-18 persons are sexually assaulted; and provide adequate relevant information and documents to expert witnesses. In case persons committing the sexual assault are caught in the act with clear traces, competent investigation bodies may invite expert assessment organizations to assign expert witnesses to directly participate in the examination of traces on bodies and collect samples from arrestees and sexually assaulted persons;

b/ Coordinate with procuracies in persuading sexually assaulted under-18 persons and their families to agree to expert assessment. In case sexually assaulted under-18 persons and their families still refuse to have expert examination neither for force majeure causes nor due to external obstacles, issue decisions on accompanied escort and notify them to procuracies;

c/ Before issuing decisions on solicitation of expert assessment, investigation bodies may exchange opinions with to-be-solicited agencies, organizations and individuals on matters that need expert assessment and performance of expert assessment;

d/ Send decisions on solicitation of expert assessment and expert assessment conclusions to competent procuracies within the time limit specified in Clause 3, Article 205 and Clause 2, Article 213 of the Criminal Procedure Code;

dd/ Monitor and urge the execution of decisions on solicitation of expert assessment;

e/ Request organizations and individuals carrying out expert assessment to explain in detail about expert assessment results in case expert assessment conclusions remain unclear.

2. Expert witnesses and organizations solicited for expert assessment shall:

a/ Carry out expert assessment and issue expert assessment conclusions within 5 days after receiving decisions on solicitation of expert assessment. In case it is impossible to carry out expert assessment within the specified time limit, promptly notify such in writing to agencies that have solicited the expert assessment, clearly stating reasons and projected time of issuance of expert assessment conclusions;

b/ Send expert assessment conclusions to agencies that have solicited the expert assessment within the time limit specified in Clause 2, Article 213 of the Criminal Procedure Code;

c/ Show up on time to examine traces and collect samples for assessment in the case specified at Point a, Clause 1 of this Article. In case they are unable to show up, promptly notify such to investigators, clearly stating reasons;

d/ When carrying out the expert assessment, if finding contents subject to expert assessment unclear, request expert assessment-soliciting agencies to explain and additionally provide documents. Expert witnesses shall promptly explain in detail matters in expert assessment conclusions when so requested by expert assessment-soliciting agencies.

3. Procuracies shall:

a/ Closely coordinate with investigation bodies in determining contents that need expert assessment in order to clarify acts of sexual assault; evaluate expert assessment conclusions and request expert witnesses to clearly explain contents of expert assessment conclusions in accordance with law;

b/ If soliciting the expert assessment, comply with the provisions of Clause 1 of this Article.

4. Responsibilities of other agencies, organizations and individuals:

a/ Labor, invalids and social affairs agencies, agencies currently responsible for managing, caring for and educating sexually assaulted under-18 persons, women’s union, youth unions, and local administrations shall assign their representatives to participate in the expert assessment when so requested by bodies or persons competent to conduct the proceedings;

b/ When requested by bodies or persons competent to conduct the proceedings, local administrations and other related agencies, organizations and individuals shall provide dossiers, personal background records and other necessary documents to expert witnesses to support the expert assessment.

Article 14. Coordination in taking of statements and interrogation of under-18 proceeding participants

1. The taking of statements of sexually assaulted under-18 persons must comply with Articles 188 and 421 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Article 14 of Joint Circular No. 06/2018.

In case sexually assaulted under-18 persons show signs of abnormal psychology or panic disorder, investigators may additionally invite their family members, representatives of schools, psychologists, representatives of labor, invalids and social affairs agencies or other organizations and individuals to participate in the taking of statements and help such persons become psychologically stable. The invited persons shall coordinate with and assist investigators in helping sexually assaulted persons become psychologically stable and shall keep confidential information related to the taking of statements.

2. The taking of statements of witnesses, persons against whom offense denunciations or criminal case initiation proposals are made, persons held in case of emergency, arrestees and persons held in custody, and the interrogation of the accused who are under-18 persons must comply with Articles 183, 186 and 421 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Article 14 of Joint Circular No. 06/2018, and relevant provisions of Clause 1 of this Article.

3. Procurators shall closely supervise the taking of statements and interrogation by investigators. If finding the taken statements unclear or contradictory or inconsistent with other documents and evidences, they shall request investigators to take additional statements or carry out an additional interrogation. If detecting violations in the taking of statements or interrogation, they shall request investigators to immediately remediate such violations. Investigators shall respond to requests of procurators. If finding it necessary, procurators shall personally take statements or carry out interrogation. Investigators shall help procurators take statements and carry out interrogation in accordance with law. In case it is necessary to record statements of persons held in case of emergency, arrestees or persons held in custody or to interrogate the accused in detention, investigators shall provide procurators with information on psychological developments and attitude of such persons and related information to serve the taking of statements and interrogation.

Article 15. Coordination in identification, investigative experiment and voice recognition

1. The identification, investigative experiment and voice recognition must comply with Articles 190, 191, 204 and 421 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

At least 24 hours before carrying out identification, investigative experiment or voice recognition, an investigator shall notify a procurator of the time and place of the identification, investigative experiment or voice recognition. The procurator shall show up at the notified place for carrying out the supervision. The investigator and procurator shall coordinate with each other in examining and evaluating identification, investigative experiment or voice recognition results in order to set subsequent investigation requirements. In case of failure to show up at the notified place for direct supervision for an objective reason, the procurator shall notify such to the investigator at least 2 hours before the identification, investigative experiment or voice recognition is carried out.

2. Before organizing identification, voice recognition or investigative experiment, investigators and procurators shall exchange their opinions and reach agreement on contents and methods of identification, voice recognition or investigative experiment. Investigative experiment may only be carried out if, without it, it is impossible to settle the cases and only appropriate methods may be applied (such as use of anatomical models of victims’ bodies) in the investigative experiment. In case it is difficult to collect traces or traces have not been collected yet or it is impossible to identify crime scenes, investigators shall coordinate with procurators in carrying out activities as specified by law to reconstruct crime scenes and reenact actions and circumstances so as to verify documents and circumstances significant for the settlement of cases.

3. When necessary or upon request of victims, the accused or lawful representatives of under-18 persons or defense counsels, representatives of labor, invalids and social affairs agencies, women’s unions, youth unions and schools, psychologists or other assisting officers may be invited to participate in the identification, investigative experiment or voice recognition. The invited persons shall join and coordinate with persons competent to conduct the proceedings, lawful representatives of under-18 persons and defense counsels in helping under-18 persons become psychologically stable throughout the course of identification, investigative experiment or voice recognition.        

Article 16. Setting and satisfaction of investigation requirements

Procurators shall coordinate with and assist investigators in investigating and collecting evidence to prove facts of cases, and set investigation requirements. Investigation requirements must be clear, specific, practical and sufficient, thus ensuring the objective, comprehensive and lawful investigation. Investigators shall fully satisfy investigation requirements and exchange opinions with procurators on contents in need of investigation. In case the evidence collection is difficult, investigators and procurators shall coordinate with each other in evaluating before reaching agreement on matters in need of investigation. If unable to reach agreement, they shall report such to their leaderships for direction.

Article 17. Completion of investigation 

At least 20 days before the completion of the investigation or upon the expiration of the time limit for investigation into cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons, investigators and procurators shall coordinate with each other in evaluating all evidence and documents of and procedures for cases as specified in Article 31 of Joint Circular No. 04/2018/TTLT-VKSNDTC-BCA-BQP of October 19, 2018, of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, Ministry of Public Security, and Ministry of National Defense, on coordination between investigation bodies and procuracies in the implementation of a number of provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (below referred to as Joint Circular No. 04/2018).

 

Chapter III

COORDINATION IN THE STAGE OF PROSECUTION

Article 18. Delivery and receipt of case files upon completion of the investigation and exhibits 

1. The coordination in the delivery and receipt of case files upon completion of the investigation and exhibits must comply with Article 238 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Article 36 of Joint Circular No. 04/2018. Investigation bodies shall inform procuracies of the delivery of case files and exhibits for the latter’s prompt and timely receipt.

2. Upon the delivery of case files, investigation bodies shall prepare sufficient documents and evidence and complete procedures for delivery of case files to procuracies. If the case files remain insufficient (e.g., investigation conclusions have not yet been delivered to the accused or no list of exhibits is available) or documents in the case files are arranged at variance with the order in the list of documents and exhibits or entry numbers are erroneously recorded, procuracies shall request investigation bodies to supplement the case files or correct errors.

Article 19. Coordination in the addition of evidence

1. The coordination in the addition of evidence must comply with the relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. In the stage of prosecution, if finding the collected evidences contradictory or unclear, procurators shall exchange opinions with investigators before requesting the addition of evidence. Investigators shall fulfill requests for addition of evidence and promptly deliver the collected or added documents and evidence to procurators.

2. In case of necessity to further clarify details of expert assessment conclusions, procurators shall invite expert witnesses and concurrently notify such to investigators for the latter to listen to explanations by expert witnesses. Expert witnesses shall clearly explain details as requested by procurators and their explanations shall be recorded in minutes to be included in case files.

3. In case courts return case files and request additional investigation, procurators shall coordinate with investigators in studying contents requested for additional investigation. If requests for additional investigation are grounded and deeming it unnecessary to return case files for additional investigation, procuracies shall directly carry out additional investigation into documents and evidence. Investigators shall coordinate with procurators in carrying out investigation activities. If unable to carry out additional investigation on their own, procuracies shall issue decisions on return of case files for requesting additional investigation.     

Article 20. Procuracies directly carrying out a number of investigation activities

1. In the stage of prosecution, if deeming it possible to additionally collect evidence on their own, procurators and investigators shall coordinate with each other in collecting evidence. If unable to do so, procuracies shall return case files for requesting additional investigation.

2. If deeming it necessary to directly examine crime scenes, exhibits and traces, procurators shall exchange opinions with investigators for coordinated examination. Investigators shall coordinate with and create conditions for procurators in carrying out such activities.

3. In case it is necessary to reconstruct crime scenes or reenact simple investigative experiment circumstances, procurators shall assume the prime responsibility for, and coordinate with investigators in, carrying out such activities. Investigative experiment must strictly comply with relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.

 

Chapter IV

COORDINATION IN THE STAGE OF FIRST-INSTANCE TRIAL

Article 21. Coordination in transfer and receipt of case files and indictments

1. Procuracies shall deliver files of cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons and indictments to courts for first-instance trial under Articles 244 and 276 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and inform such to courts for the latter to arrange time for prompt and timely receipt of case files.

2. Upon the delivery of case files, procuracies shall prepare sufficient documents and evidence and complete procedures for delivery of case files to courts. If the case files remain insufficient (e.g., indictments have not yet been delivered to the accused, or no list of exhibits or list of persons who need to be summoned to court hearings is available) or documents are arranged at variance with the order in the list of documents and exhibits, or entry numbers are erroneously recorded, courts shall request procuracies to promptly supplement the case files or correct the errors.

Article 22. Coordination in the stage of preparation for first-instance trial

1. Coordination in the return of case files for additional investigation:

a/ The coordination between courts and procuracies in case of return of case files for additional investigation must comply with Joint Circular No. 02/2017/TTLT-VKSNDTC-TANDTC-BCA-BQP of December 22, 2017, of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, Supreme People’s Court, Ministry of Public Security, and Ministry of National Defense, on coordination among proceeding-conducting bodies in implementing a number of provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code regarding return of case files for additional investigation;

b/ In case of necessity, courts may exchange opinions with procuracies on accompanying documents, evidence and exhibits (if any) for the purpose of clarifying the cases specified in Clause 1, Article 280 of the Criminal Procedure Code before deciding on return of case files for additional investigation. It is required to minimize the return of case files for additional investigation or return of case files at court hearings, thus leading to prolonged periods of settlement of cases.

2. Coordination before opening of court hearings:

a/ Courts shall clearly state in decisions to bring cases for trial whether court hearings are held at courtrooms for ordinary criminal cases or courtrooms for settlement of cases and matters related to families and juveniles so that procurators can wear appropriate attires when participating in court hearings.

b/ In case procuracies request summoning victims to court hearings, courts shall consider and decide on summons of those persons to court hearings. If victims are compelled to be present at court hearings, appropriate courtrooms shall be arranged or there must be partitions for the victims’ zone at court hearings. Medical doctors or psychologists may also be requested to render support or apply measures to protect victims at court hearings;

c/ In case procuracies need to listen to or view audio-recorded or audio video-recorded contents or request disclosure of a number of documents and evidence in the form of electronic data at court hearings for cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons, they shall exchange opinions with courts for the latter to arrange appropriate technical means and equipment to serve such activities at court hearings as suitable to practical conditions of courts.

Article 23. Coordination at first-instance court hearings

1. When participating in court hearings, proceeding-conducting persons and proceeding participants shall comply with the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court’s Circular No. 02/2018/TT-TANDTC of September 21, 2018, providing in detail the trial of criminal cases with under-18 proceeding participants that fall under the jurisdiction of the family and juvenile court (below referred to as Circular No. 02/2018), and Circular No. 01/2017/TT-TANDTC of July 28, 2017, on courtrooms.

2. In case of necessity to disclose at court hearings evidence and documents in the form of electronic data, or audio-recorded or audio video-recorded statements taken in the course of settlement of cases, procurators shall coordinate with judges presiding over court hearings in doing so. The disclosure of documents and evidence at court hearings shall be carried out in an objective and lawful manner.

 

Chapter V

COORDINATION IN OTHER ACTIVITIES

Article 24. Coordination in provision of mutual legal assistance in criminal matters   

1. For cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons involving foreign elements, if it is necessary to collect evidence and take statements of proceeding participants who are residing overseas, proceeding-conducting bodies shall exchange opinions and coordinate with the Supreme People’s Procuracy in performing judicial mandate in criminal matters.

In case it is required to perform coordination in the collection of evidence overseas and online identification of persons or objects, proceeding-conducting bodies shall coordinate with the Supreme People’s Procuracy in exchanging opinions with judicial bodies of related countries for coordinated performance.

2. Right after receiving results of the judicial mandate by foreign partners, the Supreme People’s Procuracy shall promptly transfer them to competent agencies. In case judicial mandate results remain unsatisfactory, proceeding-conducting bodies that have made judicial mandate requests shall coordinate with the Supreme People’s Procuracy for continuing to request foreign bodies to perform additional judicial mandate.

Article 25. Attires of competent persons in the course of settlement of cases of sexual assault against under-18 persons        

1. If sexually assaulted under-18 persons are present in the stage of examination and verification of denunciations or reported information about offenses and criminal case initiation proposals, the stage of investigation and stage of prosecution, persons competent to conduct the proceedings and other competent persons are not required to wear attires or attires of their sectors, agencies or organizations and may wear casual clothing in a neat and polite fashion.

2. In case court hearings are held in courtrooms for trial and settlement of cases and matters falling under the jurisdiction of the family and juvenile court, judges shall wear attires specified in Circular No. 02/2018, while other proceeding-conducting persons and persons summoned to court hearings shall wear attires under Clause 1 of this Article.

 

Chapter VI

IMPLEMENTATION PROVISIONS

Article 26. Effect

This Joint Circular takes effect on April 5, 2022.

Article 27. Organization of implementation

1. Within the ambit of their competence, the Supreme People’s Procuracy, Supreme People’s Court, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of National Defense, and Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs shall organize the implementation of this Joint Circular.

2. Any difficulties or problems arising in the course of implementation of this Joint Circular should be reported to the Supreme People’s Procuracy, Supreme People’s Court, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of National Defense, and Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs for providing consideration and guidance or making appropriate amendments or supplementations.-

For the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court
Deputy Chief Justice
NGUYEN TRI TUE

For the Procurator General of the Supreme People’s Procuracy
Deputy Procurator General
NGUYEN DUY GIANG

For the Minister of Public Security
Deputy Minister
Lieutenant General
NGUYEN DUY NGOC

For the Minister of National Defense
Deputy Minister
Senior Lieutenant General
VO MINH LUONG

For the Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs
Deputy Minister
NGUYEN THI HA

 

 

[1] Công Báo Nos 261-262 (06/3/2022)

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