Advancing the Judicial Fight Against Corruption in Viet Nam

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 16 November 2020 - The existing legal system of Viet Nam on anti-corruption is extensive, and broadly compatible with the mandatory requirements provided in the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). However, guidelines for criminal justice officers that apply new provisions of the Penal Code on corruption and position-related offences are urgently needed to improve the effectiveness of national anti-corruption policies.

This is one of the main points raised in a consultation workshop on the Judges’ Council Resolution guiding the application of the Penal Code’s provisions on corruption and position-related offences (JCR), organized by UNODC and the Supreme People’s Court of Viet Nam (SPC) on 16 November 2020 in Ha Noi.

“The focus of our consultation is providing final comments on and inputs into the latest draft of the JCR before it is submitted to the Judges Council of the Supreme People’s Court for approval within this year”, said Mr. Nguyen Chi Cong, General Director, Department for Judicial Affairs and Scientific Management, Supreme People’s Court.
Gathering over 60 participants that include judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, researchers, legislators, legal experts and relevant government officials in Viet Nam, the workshop served as a forum for practitioners and experts to gain a greater understanding of the draft JCR, to raise problems they may still face in dealing with corruption cases if the current version of the draft JCR is adopted, and to provide concrete inputs into the draft JCR  to effectively address them.

During the workshop, representatives of the SPC gave a presentation on the draft JCR, and participants provided comments on the contents of the document, including on its scope of regulations; explanations of new legal terms such as “abusing positions, powers to appropriate property”; “misfeasance while performing official duties” or “non-material benefits”;  on cases for reduction or exemption of criminal liability; and on asset confiscation. Participants also provided specific suggestions for changes in the updated draft of the JCR, particularly on the name of the document, the content of each article, and the wording of the JCR.    

Since Viet Nam became a party to UNCAC in 2009, UNODC has been working with Viet Nam to enhance the national capacity to prevent and combat corruption. From 2014-2017, UNODC supported Viet Nam in the development of amendments to corruption and position-related offences in the Penal Code. After the amendments were passed by the National Assembly of Viet Nam in June 2017, UNODC continued to support the effective implementation of the new provisions.

“The consultation builds on UNODC’s longstanding cooperation with Viet Nam to strengthen Viet Nam’s anti-corruption efforts”, said Ms Nguyen Nguyet Minh, Programme Specialist, UNODC. “ The JCR, once adopted, will be a comprehensive, practical tool to guide investigators, prosecutors and judges on how to implement Viet Nam’s corruption and position related offences.”

Director General Nguyen Chi Cong expressed appreciation for the support from UNODC to strengthen the Penal Code and the capacity of law enforcement in Viet Nam. He also requested continued support from UNODC for future law and justice cooperation.    

This event, funded by the Governments of Australia and the UK, is the third legislative drafting workshop or consultation on the JCR of Viet Nam to be carried out by UNODC since 2019, in support of the implementation of the Penal Code and the reform of the criminal justice system.