Temporary seizure in Vietnam and some regulations that need special attention

In order to promptly prevent the crime or when there is evidence that the offender will continue committing the crime,…, the Vietnamese procedure-conducting agency or person may temporarily detain the offender.

Temporary seizure in Vietnam and some regulations that need special attention

1. In Vietnam, anybody may be detained?

Temporary detention may apply to:

- Persons held in urgent cases;

- People sent in case of flagrant crime;

- Offenders or self-surrenders;

- The arrestee under the pursuit warrant.

2. Competence to decide on temporary custody in Vietnam

The following persons may issue decisions on temporary custody:

- Heads and deputy heads of investigating agencies at all levels;

- Heads of independent regiment- or equivalent-level units, commanders of border guard stations, commanders of port border gate guards, commanders of border guards of provinces and centrally run cities, the director of the Border Guard Reconnaissance Department, the director of the Department for Drug and Border Guard Prevention and Combat, heads of special drug prevention and fight and crime prevention and fight teams of the Border Guard; commanders of the Coast Guard zones, the director of the Department for Professional Operations and Law on the Border Guard, and heads of special drug-related crime prevention and fight teams; and the director of the Coast Guard Sub-Departments;

- Airplane or ship captains when airplanes or ships have left airports or seaports.

Note: Within 12 hours after issuing the temporary custody decision, the person issuing the temporary custody decision shall send the temporary custody decision enclosed with documents to serve as a basis for the temporary custody to the same-level procuracy or competent procuracy. If deeming that the custody is ungrounded or unnecessary, the procuracy shall issue a decision to cancel the custody decision and the person who has issued the custody decision shall immediately release the person in custody.

3. Duration of temporary custody in Vietnam

The duration of temporary custody is prescribed as follows:

- Common time limit: The custody duration must not exceed 3 days after the investigative agency or agency assigned to conduct some investigating activities receive the person in custody or the arrestee or escort him/her to its office or after the investigative agency issues a decision to hold him/her in custody.

- Time limit for extension: When necessary, the person issuing the temporary custody decision may extend the time limit for temporary custody but not exceeding 03 days. In special cases, the person issuing the temporary custody decision may extend the time limit for the second temporary custody but not exceeding 3 days.

All cases of extension of the custody duration must be approved by the same-level procuracy or the competent procuracy. Within 12 hours from the receipt of the application, the Procuracy must make a decision to approve or disapprove it.

4. Cases of free refund for persons held in custody in Vietnam

Persons held in custody shall be free in the following cases:

- If deeming that the custody is ungrounded or unnecessary, the procuracy shall issue a decision to cancel the custody decision and the person who has issued the custody decision shall immediately release the person in custody.

- While the temporary custody is being held, if there are not enough grounds to institute a criminal case against the accused, the investigative agency or agency assigned to conduct some investigating activities shall immediately release the person in custody; in case the custody duration has been extended, the procuracy shall immediately release the person in custody.

5. Rights and obligations of persons held in custody in Vietnam

- The detainee has the right:

+ Reach the reasons for impoundment; receive the decision on impoundment, the decision on extending the impoundment period, and other decisions as prescribed in the Criminal Procedure Code 2015;

+ Be informed and explained about rights and obligations specified in Article 59 of the 2015 Criminal Procedure Code;

+ Present testimonies, express opinions, are not required to make testimonies against himself/herself or force him/herself to have criminals;

+ Self-defending and asking for defenders;

+ To give evidences, documents, objects and requests;

+ Present the opinions about the evidence, documents and relevant objects and request the competent person to conduct the inspection and assessment;

+ Complaints about procedural decisions or acts of agencies or persons competent to conduct procedures against the temporary seizure.

- People held in custody are obliged to abide by the provisions of this Circular and the Law on Execution of custody and detention.

(Articles 59, 117, 118 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2015)

Diem My

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