Public security ministry says time for Vietnam to have extradition law

By Sen , Ba DoAugust 6, 2019 | 05:00 am PT
Public security ministry says time for Vietnam to have extradition law
There were over 1,200 Vietnamese fugitives going into hiding overseas as of May this year. Photo by Shutterstock/9dream studio.
The Ministry of Public Security has called for enacting an extradition law that is in line with international law.

It said Vietnam’s extradition practice is often in conflict with the provisions of international treaties and laws.

For instance, most countries, especially in Europe, do not treat "negligence that results in serious consequences" as a crime like Vietnam, where a corruption crackdown has seen the charge brought down on many high-rank officials and businesspeople.

This makes it almost impossible to seek extradition of people accused of this crime unless the country in question has goodwill for Vietnam, the ministry said.

In such cases, Vietnam has had to frame additional charges against the accused to extradite them, it pointed out.

The legislative National Assembly should soon approve the law since the number of Vietnamese fugitives abroad and international fugitives in Vietnam could increase, it added.

Major General Nguyen Mai Bo, standing member of the National Defense Security Committee, voiced a similar opinion.

He told VnExpress on Monday that while Vietnam has signed the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaty with many countries its content related to extradition is vague.

"For it to be more specific, there should be a clear legal and regulatory framework."

Lawyer Truong Anh Tu, chairman of Hanoi law firm TAT, said: "Many cases of extradition are diplomatic, friendly, mutually beneficial, but we cannot rely on good relationships and must be proactive in building a framework for extradition."

There were over 1,200 Vietnamese fugitives going into hiding overseas as of May this year. 235 have Interpol red notices out for them, according to a report issued by the ministry last week.

The country had sent 35 extradition requests to countries and territories like Russia, Australia, the Czech Republic, and the U.K., Hong Kong, Japan and Sweden, but only seven have been extradited.

There were 317 foreign fugitives with Interpol red notices hiding in Vietnam as of May, and the government have extradited criminals following 46 requests from foreign countries.

The ministry's report, which spells out its proposal for an extradition law, will collect public feedback for a month on its portal before being reviewed by the government.

Vietnam is a member of 22 multilateral treaties, 11 bilateral treaties with provisions for extradition and 12 extradition-focused bilateral agreements, according to the ministry.

Consultant Sibylle Kapferer of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees wrote in a 2003 report that a legal obligation for one state to surrender a person wanted by another state exists only on the basis of bilateral or multilateral extradition agreements.

In other cases, international instruments make it incumbent on a country to extradite, as is the case with respect to offenses like genocide and apartheid.

But extradition is generally done only if the offense imputed to a wanted person is a crime in both countries.

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