The proposed removal of capital punishment for many crimes was one of the major topics among National Assembly deputies over the draft Penal Code (revised). NA deputy Nguyen Dinh Quyen, deputy head of NA's Committee on Judicial Affairs shared his views with the VietnamNewsAgency.
What do you think of the proposed removal of capital punishment for citizens 70 years and older?
After careful consideration, the NA's Committee on Judicial Affairs concluded they would vote against the proposal. Reports and reviews of collected cases recently showed a significant number of senior citizens, even seniors who were 70-80 year old, committing serious crimes.
In addition, the number of crimes committed by senior citizens, along with teenagers, has risen in recent years.
After all, they are citizens with the capacity to meet their civil duties; it's practically and theoretically untenable to disqualify this group of citizens from facing capital punishment.
Regarding the proposal to remove capital punishment from a number of crime penalties, do you approve?
Further and careful studies are required before we can make such a decision since crime has been on the rise in number, complexity and seriousness.
I do not think we should view the removal of capital punishment as a goal that must be attained at all cost. The committee has spoken on the issue. We agreed that the capital punishment can be removed for some crimes, but not for the others.
Some voiced support of removing capital punishment from corruption cases if criminals return the stolen assets. Should this be adopted in Viet Nam?
The committee did not approve of this. Returning stolen assets has always been a mitigating factor, but it has never served as a restriction on whether the death penalty can be sought.
The People's Procuracy did stop corruption investigations in some cases after the offenders restored the damages but the committee demanded those cases to be reopened.
The draft Penal Code (revised) also brought up the issue of criminal proceedings against legal entities. What do you think?
This issue was first introduced in Viet Nam almost 20 years ago. Criminal liability of legal entities was limited to monetary penalties, revoking licences, dissolving business and impeding operations.
These were already on the list of applicable penalties for administrative violations. The only difference was that criminal liability included a criminal record.
Legal experts and researchers have not reached a consensus on key issues regarding certain elements of crimes, nor how to individualise criminal liability. With that in mind, drafting in criminal liability for legal entities to the penal code is unnecessary.
Many NA deputies voiced their concerns over the criminal-isation of economic activities. What's your view on it?
A number of crimes are closely associated with economic activities such as loan sharking and financial frauds. If we don't draw a clear line between criminal and economic activities when we apply the laws it is quite possible to get them mixed up.
I do not think our current laws are to blame in this case. The problem is how the law has been applied; the penal code clearly does not criminalise economic activities. The penal code, however, must clearly define the criteria of economic crimes. — VNS