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Official Gazette

Monday, August 21, 2017
Salient amendments to the 2015 Penal Code Salient amendments to the 2015 Penal Code
At its 3rd session wrapped up last month, the National Assembly passed a law making a raft of amendments to the 2015 Penal Code with effect from early next year. More than 200 articles of the Code have been amended, one new article added and another removed. These amendments include not only corrections of technical errors but also many criminal justice policy changes. Below are the most prominent of them.
Sharing of criminal record information between Vietnam and other countries Sharing of criminal record information between Vietnam and other countries
Under the Law on Judicial Records, Vietnamese citizens convicted in foreign countries are subject to management of criminal records, and excerpts of their judgments or previous criminal convictions provided by foreign authorities under treaties on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters or on the principle of reciprocity are used as a source for making their criminal records.
Execution of administrative judgments in Vietnam: an overview Execution of administrative judgments in Vietnam: an overview
In Vietnam, while execution of criminal judgments and execution of civil judgments are regulated by two separate laws, i.e. the 2010 Law on Execution of Criminal Judgments and the 2008 Law on Execution of Civil Judgments (revised in 2014). Issues related to the execution of administrative judgments are incorporated in the Law on Administrative Procedure.
First cash fine imposed instead of imprisonment First cash fine imposed instead of imprisonment
The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court on March 27 imposed a fine of VND 1.2 billion on Ha Thi Thuy Duong, a former flight attendant of South Korea’s Asiana Airlines, for illegally transporting foreign currency into Vietnam in November 2015.
Jurisdiction of Vietnamese courts to settle civil cases involving foreign elements Jurisdiction of Vietnamese courts to settle civil cases involving foreign elements
This article analyzes new provisions on the jurisdiction of Vietnamese courts to hear civil cases and matters involving foreign elements under the 2015 Civil Procedure Code regarding general jurisdiction, exclusive jurisdiction and cases in which the jurisdiction remains unchanged.
Lenient policy toward juvenile offenders under the new Penal Code Lenient policy toward juvenile offenders under the new Penal Code
Vietnam joined the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child on February 28, 1990, and, like other member states of the Convention, it commits to applying every measure, including legislative measure, to secure the rights of the child. Based on the universal standards, the Vietnamese State has institutionalized leniency policies and narrowed the scope of criminal handling of juvenile offenders in the Penal Codes ever enacted in the country, with a view to applying the best handling measures to them.
Territorial effect of the new Penal Code: from the perspective of international law Territorial effect of the new Penal Code: from the perspective of international law
Vietnam’s provisions on territorial effect of the Penal Code have evolved to more align with the international law in general and international criminal law in particular. However, the Code still has no provision that a treaty to which Vietnam is a contracting party prevails if its provisions are different from those of a domestic law on the same field.
How bail is granted under the new Criminal Procedure Code How bail is granted under the new Criminal Procedure Code
As a deterrent measure of high applicability, bail was provided very early in Vietnam’s criminal procedure law (Article 75 of the 1988 Criminal Procedure Code and Article 92 of the 2003 Criminal Procedure Code). However, in practice it has been rarely applied partly due to lack of specific provisions to guide, for example, which types of offense for which offenders may be released on bail in replacement of being detained. In other words, its application is at the discretion of investigating bodies, procuracies and courts. Bail has been denied even for many accused persons and defendants with good pesonal backgrounds, having no criminal records or committing an offense for the first time, having clear addresses of residence, sincerely giving statements, showing repentance or being aged or seriously ill or disabled.
New Criminal Procedure Code better protects juveniles New Criminal Procedure Code better protects juveniles
The 2015 Criminal Procedure Code contains many new provisions on the procedure applicable to persons aged under 18 years, serving as the ground for building a separate juvenile justice system that is humane, friendly, respectful and protective in Vietnam. Apart from these progressive points, the Code still has some shortcomings as pointed out by the author at the end of the article.
Judicial power under 2015 Criminal Procedure Code Judicial power under 2015 Criminal Procedure Code
This writing clarifies the content of the court’s judicial power and the requirement for institutionalizing judicial power in criminal procedure legislation. It then analyzes the new provisions of the 2015 Criminal Procedure Code regarding this issue.

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