Vietnam may stop punishing drug, war crimes by death

Thanh Nien News

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Vietnam may stop punishing drug, war crimes by death


The government has proposed abolishing the death penalty for seven crimes at a parliament session in Hanoi on Wednesday.
The crimes are robbery, vandalizing equipment and works significant to national security, gross disturbances of public order, surrendering to enemy forces, acts of sabotage and waging invasive wars, crimes against humanity, and drug trafficking.
The proposal is part of amendments to the Penal Code, which are going to be discussed at the ongoing session and voted on in November.
The Vietnamese Penal Code currently recognizes 22 crimes as punishable by death. That number was progressively scaled back from the original list issued in 1985, following amendments made in 1999 and 2009.
According to Tran Van Do, former vice chief of the Supreme People’s Court, Vietnam's courts sentence about 200 people to death every year.
Vietnam switched to lethal injection from firing squad in 2011.
Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong, who presented the new amendments, said there are still controversies around the proposal involving death penalty.
Some people also proposed removing crimes of producing fake food and medicine, embezzlement and receiving bribe from the death penalty list. 
“The government recognizes that there should be an unyielding fight against corruption. Many measures have been taken to no avail.”
Removing corruption from the list could lead to misconception that the law is lenient to corrupt officials, he said.
Cuong said the government has also proposed life imprisonment without parole for the first time in Vietnam’s legal system.

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