Vietnam holds back revised Penal Code to fix ambiguous errors

By Vo Van Thanh   June 28, 2016 | 12:19 am PT
Vietnam will delay the release date of its 2025 Penal Code, which was scheduled to replace the 1999 Criminal Code on July 1, due to errors in the drafting process, according to a VnExpress source.

On June 27, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee held a meeting with provincial representatives to discuss the implementation process of the 2015 Penal Code. Although this set of laws was by the NA during the previous term and scheduled to take effect on July 1, lawmakers said some "technical" errors have made many that could be poorly interpreted, making it difficult to apply in practice.

About 90 errors have been identified, dozens of which need to be amended. “From the authorities’ standpoint, if the law has errors it should not be released as it will affect the people,” the source said.

Since there are only a few days left before the 2015 Penal Code 2015 comes into effect, the NA has not had enough time to convene a meeting in Hanoi to address the issue. Instead, voting cards, together with relevant documents, will be sent to deputies in a ballot to decide whether the Penal Code should be moved back a year – to July 1, 2017. It results of the vote are expected to be announced after June 29.

On November 27, 2015, the revised Penal Code was passed by the National Assembly with the approval of 84.01 percent of deputies.

One of the code's most notable change was the abolishment of the death penalty for seven type of crimes, including mugging; manufacturing or trading in fake foods/foodstuffs; surrendering to the enemy; disobeying orders; sabotaging facilities; and illegally storing narcotics.

The code's Article 292 also sparked controversy and worried many startup businesses as it states that providing unlicensed services on the internet or through mobile networks is a criminal offense.

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