Vietnam considers scaling back death penalty: official

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Vietnam considers scaling back death penalty: official

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The Ministry of Justice is drafting amendments to the Penal Code which will reduce the number of crimes punishable by death, Dan Viet newspaper quoted a ministry official as saying.
“For certain crimes,  the death penalty can be replaced by similarly strict measures like a life sentence or, like many experts have proposed, a life sentence without the possibility of parole,” said Tran Van Dung, head of the ministry’s criminal law branch.
“The amendments will be in line with a humane policy of the Party and Government and the global tendency toward scaling back capital punishment,” he said.
The amendments is scheduled to be submitted to the government in the fourth quarter of this year before being voted on by lawmakers.
The Vietnamese Penal Code now includes 22 crimes punishable by death.
The list was first issued in 1985 and amended in 1999 and 2009.
However, Dung said legislators will consider the fact that certain crimes have increased, further complicating the review process.
“We will consider these trends as we consider pulling the death penalty for certain crimes,” he said.
He said drafters are expected to maintain capital punishment for brutal crimes like murder, drug crimes, treason and crimes against humanity.
“At the same time, other measures need to be increased including the seizure of property or stricter fines,” he said.
Dung also said drafters should reduce jail terms for political, economic and social crimes while cranking up monetary fines. He pointed out that jail terms are not always the best way of rehabilitating such offenders who have a better chance of repaying the community for their crime when they remain free to do so.
Vietnam switched to lethal injection from the firing squad in November 2011.
However, an EU refusal to sell Vietnam the deadly injection led to a delay in executions until August 2013, when the number of death-row prisoners was reported to reach 684.
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