• it is extreamely difficult to establish a viable court system when it is at war
  • it is hard enough for a peaceful country to establish the rule of law in a war torn conflict it is possible
  • phoenix program was a drag nets system based on very little evidence
  • the program was designed to be tight with defined boundaries and entrenched limits


  • two days to process
  • 3 days before transfer to provincial authorities
  • 30 days to construct a trial
  • innocent people spent months in jail because of a giant backlog
  • this made all who were processed out of the system inevitably became VC sympathizers
  • POW's were managed by the US army - they were club med for prisoners - red cross was there
  • VCI were put in camps controlled by south vietnam - the conditions were slightly worse
  • 160 lawyers and 160 judges had to process 160 k vci cases
  • South Vietnam doesn't have its own legal system

complicated legal system

  • dossiers were made on all the suspects
  • villagers don't leave a very good paper trail
  • very hard to prove cases
  • the wait times for convicted VCI sympathizers was usually 1 year
  • the prisoners were rammed
  • large scaled amnesty on national day+ insurgent universities
  • wrongfully convicted mingled with ideologues
  • the prison camp conditions were so bad it made it easy to sympathize with the vc cause
  • the camps were a good example of the brutality and ineptness of the south Vietnam government

Province Interrogation Centers

  • CIA trained the vietnamease how to interogate but did not advocate torture
  • the vietnamese would torture people anyways when the americans were not around

province security committe

  • 3 months to decide the case
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