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Gov’t to go easy on some child criminals

Update: February, 21/2017 - 09:00
Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân at a regular monthly meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee, which began yesterday. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – The National Assembly Standing Committee (NASC) disagreed with a congressional vote which would mean juveniles are fully subject to criminal charges for rape, deliberately injuring people or kidnapping.

During a regular monthly meeting that began yesterday, the NASC debated amendments to the Penal Code 2015 which last year was suspended from going into effect days before implementation due to 90 “technical errors”.

Article 12 of the Penal Code 2015, passed by the 13th NA, regulated that any person from 14 to 16, while still legally a child, would be held responsible for criminal charges for some crimes, including rape, deliberately injuring people or kidnapping.

The Supreme People’s Procuracy Chief Justice Lê Minh Trí said that the Government wanted to narrow down the crime level to which juveniles are subject to criminal charges, making it so they only face prison terms if their crimes are very serious, Trí said.

“This option is to ensure a humane policy towards those individuals,” he said.  

NA Committee for Culture, Education, Youth, Adolescents and Children Chairman Phan Thanh Bình said that those under 16 were considered children according to the Child Law.

“We have to consider the future of those children in prison and post-prison,” he said. “If they can’t manage their lives outside jail, can they possibly do that inside?”

“I acknowledge that there has been an increase in juvenile crime of late, yet we don’t have any official statistics on how many 14-16-year-old children were engaged in serious crimes”.

NA Committee for Legal Affairs member Nguyễn Khắc Định said that the juvenile regulation of the Penal Code 2015 was discussed and voted through by 266 out of 397 deputies of the 13th NA for a reason.

“Many believed that we should only be humane to a group on the condition that no one is hurt from that decision,” he said.

Định suggested that the issue should be brought to the 14th NA again for another vote. – VNS

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