HA NOI (VNS) — An overwhelming majority of citizens across the country approve of proposed amendments to the Criminal Code, which would hold legal entities and companies criminally liable for their violations, rather than the current practice of strapping them with administrative punishments.
Of the 7 million responses submitted to the Ministry of Justice during an open comment period between July 15 and September 15, 92 per cent of citizens approved of the draft amendment.
Minister Ha Hung Cuong told Viet Nam Television's Dan hoi–Bo truong tra loi (People ask – Ministers answer) Programme on Sunday night that the amendments were in response to an increasing number of companies found disobeying regulations. Administrative punishments were believed to be too weak to deter them, he added.
Cuong said the draft also effectively eliminates the statute of limitations for corruption cases. At present, the statute of limitations is 5-10 years.
Also at the programme, Cuong said about 75 per cent of the ideas applauded another proposal under the amended draft that reduces the number of total crimes that adolescents between the ages of 14 and 16 can be charged with from 350 to 22.
Holding legal entities criminally liable in accordance with the national Criminal Code is expected to ensure fairness in dealing with business-related violations, according to officials. For example, a violation made by a group of people, such as a company's board of directors, will result in the legal entity rather than the individual being held accountable, Cuong said.
Cuong said that the addition of criminal liability to the Criminal Code followed several international conventions that Viet Nam ratified.
Viet Nam started researching criminal liability for legal entities in 1999 and learned about the experiences of other countries across the world, he said.
It was estimated that 119 countries regulated criminal liability for legal entities, including Japan, South Korea and China, he said.
He added that regulating criminal liability will help the national economy develop on the right track, especially because Viet Nam has participated in the ASEAN Economic Community, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the Free Trade Agreement between Viet Nam and EU. — VNS