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UNODC and VN collaborate on UNTOC implementation

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 11 November 2013
- Following Viet Nam's ratification of the United Nations Organized Crime Convention (UNTOC) on 8 June 2012, the Prime Minister issued a decision approving the implementation plan for the Convention on 18 April 2013. The purpose of this plan is to set out a road map to adequately reflect provisions of the Convention in national law, as well as to clarify the responsibilities of different levels and branches of government in preventing and combating transnational organized crime.

With the support of UNODC, the legal drafting team at the Viet Nam Ministry of Justice recently carried out an in-depth assessment of the extent to which provisions of the Convention are reflected in the current Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, as well as the extent to which new articles may be required in the revised Codes.

As a joint initiative between the Ministry of Justice and UNODC, a legal workshop was also held on 16 October 2013, which was attended by over 50 government experts. The purpose of the workshop was to review and discuss the implementation of the Convention into national law. It brought together legal experts representing the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Security, Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuracy.

"The findings and recommendations of the assessment, and the points raised in this national consultation workshop, will be directly reflected in the process of revising the Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Mutual Legal Assistance Law", said Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa, Director, Criminal and Administrative Law Department, Ministry of Justice.

The workshop examined different models for criminalizing participation in an organized criminal group, a crime not currently reflected in the Viet Nam Penal Code. It also identified the need to explore possibilities for introducing criminal liability for legal entities. Participants highlighted that there is a need for review of the system of confiscating criminal assets, and examined special investigative measures that could be introduced into the revised Viet Nam Criminal Procedure Code.

The process of legal implementation of the Convention stands to benefit from an opportune moment in the development of the national laws of Viet Nam generally. Under an ongoing programme formulating laws and ordinances, the Viet Nam Penal Code of 1999, and the Criminal Procedure Code of 2003, have recently become the subject of a multi-year review by the government and legislature of Viet Nam, which will culminate in the promulgation of revised codes in 2015.

Through the workshop, the government legal drafting team benefited from examples of legislative approaches adopted in other countries, as well as updates on international legal developments.