VIETNAMESE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE - Part Three - FIRST-INSTANCE TRIAL - CHAPTER XVII TRIAL PREPARATION








	
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PART THREE FIRST-INSTANCE TRIAL
CHAPTER XVI JURISDICTION OF COURTS AT ALL LEVELS
Article 170.- Adjudicating jurisdiction of courts at all levels
Article 171.- Territorial jurisdiction
Article 172.- Jurisdiction to adjudicate offenses committed on board aircraft or sea-going ships of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, which are operating outside the airspace or the territorial sea of Vietnam
Article 173.- Adjudication of defendants committing many offenses falling under the jurisdiction of courts at different levels
Article 174.- Transfer of cases
Article 175.- Settlement of disputes over adjudicating jurisdiction
CHAPTER XVII TRIAL PREPARATION
Article 176.- Trial preparation time limits
Article 177.- Application, change or cancellation of deterrent measures
Article 178.- Contents of decisions to bring cases for trial
Article 179.- Decisions to return files for additional investigation
Article 180.- Decisions to suspend or cease cases
Article 181.- Withdrawal of prosecution decisions by procuracies
Article 182.- Handing of court decisions
Article 183.- Summoning of persons to be questioned at court sessions
CHAPTER XVIII GENERAL PROVISIONS ON PROCEDURES AT COURT SESSIONS
Article 184.- Direct, oral and uninterrupted trial
Article 185.- Composition of first-instance trial panels
Article 186.- Replacement of trial panel members in special cases
Article 187.- Appearance of defendants at court sessions
Article 188.- Supervision of defendants at court sessions
Article 189.- Appearance of procurators
Article 190.- Appearance of defense counsels
Article 191.- Appearance of victims, civil plaintiffs, civil defendants, persons with interests and obligations related to the cases or their lawful representatives
Article 192.- Appearance of witnesses
Article 193.- Appearance of experts
Article 194.- Time limit for postponement of court sessions
Article 195.- Withdrawal of prosecution decisions or conclusion on lesser offenses by procurators at court sessions
Article 196.- Limits of trial
Article 197.- Internal rules of court sessions
Article 198.- Measures against persons violating order at court sessions
Article 199.- Making court judgments and decisions
Article 200.- Minutes of court sessions
CHAPTER XIX PROCEDURES FOR OPENING COURT SESSIONS
Article 201.- Procedures for opening court sessions
Article 202.- Settlement of requests for change of judges, jurors, procurators, court clerk, experts and/or interpreters
Article 203.- Explanation of the rights and obligations of interpreters and experts
Article 204.- Explanation of the rights, obligations of witnesses, and isolation of witnesses
Article 205.- Settlement of requests for examination of evidences and postponement of court sessions due to the absence of persons concerned
CHAPTER XX PROCEDURES FOR INQUIRY AT COURT SESSIONS
Article 206.- Reading of indictments
Article 207.- Inquiring order
Article 208.- Announcement of statements at investigating bodies
Article 209.- Inquiry of defendants
Article 210.- Inquiry of victims, civil plaintiffs, civil defendants, persons with interests and obligations related to the cases or their lawful representatives
Article 211.- Inquiry of witnesses
Article 212.- Examination of exhibits
Article 213.- On-spot examination
Article 214.- Presentation and announcement of documents of the cases and comments and reports of agencies or organizations
Article 215.- Inquiry of experts
Article 216.- Termination of inquiry
CHAPTER XXI ARGUMENT AT COURT SESSIONS
Article 217.- Order of presentation of arguments
Article 218.- Counter-argument
Article 219.- Reopening of inquiry
Article 220.- Final words of defendants
Article 221.- Consideration of withdrawal of prosecution decisions or conclusions on lesser offenses
CHAPTER XXII DELIBERATION AND PRONUNCIATION OF JUDGMENTS
Article 222.- Deliberation of judgments
Article 223.- Reopening of inquiry and argument
Article 224.- Judgments
Article 225.- Proposal to remedy mistakes in the managerial work
Article 226.- Pronouncement of judgments
Article 227.- Release of defendants
Article 228.- Arrest of defendants for temporary detention after the pronouncement of judgments
Article 229.- Handing of judgments

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CHAPTER XVII TRIAL PREPARATION


Article 176.- Trial preparation time limits

1. After receiving the case files, the judges assigned to preside over the court sessions shall have to study the files, settle complaints and requests of the participants in the procedure and perform other tasks necessary for opening court sessions.

2. Within thirty days for less serious offenses, forty five days for serious offenses, two months for very serious offenses and three months for especially serious offenses, counting from the date of receipt of the case files, the judges assigned to preside over court sessions must issue one of the following decisions:

a/ To bring the case for trial;

b/ To return the file for additional investigation;

c/ To cease or suspend the case.

For complicated cases, the presidents of courts may decide to prolong the trial preparation time limits for no more than fifteen days for less serious offenses and serious offenses, and for no more than thirty days for very serious offenses and especially serious offenses. Such prolongation must be immediately notified to the procuracies of the same level.

Within fifteen days after issuing decisions to bring the cases for trial, the courts must open court sessions; where they have plausible reasons, the courts may open court sessions within thirty days.

For the cases returned for additional investigation, within fifteen days after receiving back the files, the judges assigned to preside over the court sessions must issue decisions to bring the cases for trial.


Article 177.- Application, change or cancellation of deterrent measures

After receiving the case files, the judges assigned to preside over the court sessions shall have the right to decide to apply, change or cancel deterrent measures, excluding the application, change or cancellation of the temporary detention measure, which shall be decided by the presidents or vice-presidents of courts.

The time limits for temporary detention for trial preparation shall not exceed the trial preparation time limits defined in Article 176 of this Code.

For defendants in temporary detention but the time limit for their temporary detention expires on the date of opening the court sessions, if deeming their continued temporary detention necessary in order to complete the trial, the courts shall issue orders on temporary detention till the closing of the court sessions.


Article 178.- Contents of decisions to bring cases for trial

A decision to bring a case for trial must contain:

1. The full name, birth date, birth place, occupation and residence of the defendant;

2. The title of the offense and articles of the Penal Code applied by the procuracy to the act committed by the defendant;

3. The date, hour and venue of opening the court session;

4. Public or closed-door trial;

5. The full names of the judge, jurors and court clerk; the full names of alternate judge and jurors, if any;

6. The full name of the procurator to participate in the court session; the full name of the alternate procurator, if any;

7. The full name of the defense counsel, if any;

8. The full name of the interpreter, if any;

9. The full names of persons summoned for questioning at the court session;

10. Exhibits to be presented for examination at the court session.


Article 179.- Decisions to return files for additional investigation

1. Judges shall issue decisions to return files to procuracies for additional investigation in the following cases:

a/ Where important evidences in the cases need to be further examined, which cannot be supplemented at the court session;

b/ Where there are grounds to believe that the defendant has committed another offense or there is another accomplice;

c/ Where serious violations of the procedure are detected.

The matters required to be additionally investigated must be clearly stated in the decisions requesting the additional investigation.

2. If the additional investigation results lead to the cessation of the cases, the procuracies shall issue decisions to cease the cases and notify the courts thereof.

In cases where the procuracies cannot supplement the matters as requested by the courts and keep their prosecution decisions unchanged, the courts shall still proceed with the trial.


Article 180.- Decisions to suspend or cease cases

Judges shall issue decisions to cease cases when there are grounds prescribed in Article 160 of this Code; issue decisions to cease cases when there is one of the grounds prescribed in Clause 2 of Article 105 and Points 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Article 107 of this Code, or when the procuracies withdraw the entire prosecution decisions before the opening of court sessions.

Where a case involves many accused or defendants while the grounds for suspension or cessation of the case do not relate to all of the accused or defendants, the case may be suspended or ceased for each of them.

A decision to cease a case must contain the contents specified in Clause 3, Article 164 of this Code.


Article 181.- Withdrawal of prosecution decisions by procuracies

If deeming that there is one of the grounds prescribed in Article 107 of this Code or there are grounds to exempt the accused or defendants from penal liability under the provisions of Article 19, Article 25, and Clause 2 of Article 69 of the Penal Code, the procuracies shall withdraw prosecution decisions before the opening of court sessions and propose the courts to cease the cases.


Article 182.- Handing of court decisions

1. Decisions to bring the cases for trial must be handed to the defendants, their lawful representatives and defense counsels at least ten days before the opening of court sessions.

In case of adjudicating defendants in absentia, the decisions to bring the cases for trial and indictments shall be handed to the defendants’ defense counsels or lawful representatives; such decisions must be also posted up at the head offices of the administrations of the communes, wards or townships where the defendants reside or at their last working places.

2. The courts’ decisions to suspend or decisions to cease the cases must be handed to the accused or defendants, defense counsels, victims, lawful representatives of the accused or defendants; other participants in the procedure shall be informed thereof in writing.

3. Decisions to bring the cases for trial, decisions to cease the cases, decisions to suspend the cases must be immediately sent to the procuracies of the same level.

4. Decisions to apply, change or cancel deterrent measures must be immediately sent to the accused or defendants, the procuracies of the same level, detention centers where the accused or defendants are being held.


Article 183.- Summoning of persons to be questioned at court sessions

Basing themselves on the decisions to bring the cases for trial, judges shall summon persons who need to be questioned at court sessions.

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