The Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam has proposed the creation of a law that would allow underage people to be charged with crimes and sentenced to education terms instead of confinement if found guilty.
At a Monday National Assembly session, Nguyen Van Tien, deputy justice chief of the Court, said Vietnam’s process of prosecuting underage people has never been “truly friendly” and has failed to “ensure the best interests for underage people.”
The current system of punishment “is not appropriate for the characteristics and nature of crimes committed by underage people,” he added.
Current laws lack specialized mechanisms to effectively protect the rights and interests of minors during prosecution, and the current law system regarding underage people remains “uncoordinated and not practical,” according to Tien.
He argued that when underage people break the law, the current system focuses much more on punishing them instead of offering an effective path towards reform and rehabilitation.
“In general, the work of protecting underage people still has issues, and the situation regarding underage people violating the law and being violated still happens in a complex manner, and is on the rise,” read a court statement on the issue.
The creation of a judicial law for underage people would hopefully help minors improve their behavior on their own, and limit the use of confinement as a measure to deal with them.
Tien said such a law would allow prosecutors to charge underage people with crimes, but their punishments would be cut in half under certain conditions.
Hoang Thanh Tung, head of the law committee, agreed with the government and the Court’s request to include the law project in the National Assembly agenda for 2024.
In Vietnam, underage people are those below 18 years of age. Vietnamese law dictates that those aged 14 to under 16 must be held responsible for very serious crimes, while those aged 16 and above must be held responsible for all crimes, except for certain ones as defined by the law.
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