Lenient policy toward juvenile offenders under the new Penal Code
Vietnam joined the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 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.
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.
Ten progressive developments in the new Criminal Procedure Code
Three Criminal Procedure Codes were promulgated in Vietnam in 1988, 2003 and 2015. The latest Criminal Procedure Code was designed to meet the judicial reform requirements set forth in the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee’s Resolution No. 49-NQ/TW dated June 2, 2005. Compared to the 2003 version, the Code contains 176 new articles and 317 amended articles, retains 17 articles and abolishes 26 articles. Significantly, it introduces many new contents of a modern criminal justice which Vietnam is striving to build.