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NA members ask court, prosecutor to strive harder for justice

Members of the National Assembly (NA) have called for the People’s Supreme Prosecutor and People’s Supreme Court to work harder to ensure full justice in society.
Many accused people have been detained longer than what the law stipulates, Chairperson of the NA’s Justice Committee, Ms Buakham Thipphavong told the ongoing sixth ordinary session of the parliament recently.
“They included pregnant women and babies,” Ms Buakham said.
Ms Buakham made the comment after People’s Supreme Prosecutor Khamsane Souvong and President of People’s Supreme Court Khamphan Sitthidampha gave presentations to the parliament of their  departments’ performance over the past two and a half years and future work plans.
Some 313 people including 28 women were detained longer than what the law permitted, Mr Khamsane told the biannual session.
NA members said law enforcers needed to seek permission from prosecutors in cases where they wanted to prolong the detention of the accused.
In some cases, prisoners served their full terms and prosecutors issued orders to release them but authorities overseeing the prison did not immediately set them free, the NA members noted asking the prosecutors to look into the issue.  
Prosecutors were also told to attach great importance to follow up the implementation of court’s verdicts after reports emerged that assets were not handed over to the state in many cases despite the court ruling that seized assets belonged to the state.
Also, many offenders did not pay fines or other related payments to the winning side contrary to court verdicts.
Ms Buakham asked prosecutors to regularly follow up the performance of investigation officers and the prosecution of cases in court to ensure accuracy.
In many cases, people have made appeals through various state bodies after they were not satisfied with court verdicts reflecting that the prosecution of cases was unacceptable to them.
“Proper analysis had not been made and relevant laws were not used as references when ruling in some cases,” she said, adding that the prosecution of some cases was slow.
Ms Buakham also underlined the need for the People’s Supreme Court to work harder ensuring all courts delivered quality verdicts after learning of public complaints about the rulings.
Some cases were ruled upon by the court, but the verdicts could not be implemented as people sought to appeal.
“Although only three percent [of total cases sought appeal], it reflected the verdicts were inaccurate,” she said.  
An NA member for Vientiane province, Khambong Khonsavanh called for prosecutors to re-inspect filed cases and evidence submitted by investigation officers before handing the case to be prosecuted in court after learning of potential loopholes.
He gave an example of a road accident case that happened in his province where police officers prohibited victims taking photos of the accident scene saying it would impact the case.
After learning about the case, Mr Khambong said he made telephone calls to seek clarification and the officers replied that it could impact the case if the taking of photos was allowed.
“How can it [taking photo] impact the case,” he asked.
Mr Khambong raised concerns that such action could leave loopholes for irregularity.
NA members noted that some state officials, police officers and soldiers violated state laws such as the forest law and budget law, but only a few were penalised, while some just received light punishment like a reshuffle.
NA members praised the People’s Supreme Prosecutor and People’s Supreme Court for their performance that has improved justice in Lao society.

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update December 8, 2018)

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