This year’s second legal policy dialogue forum was held in Hanoi on October 22 with a focus on bringing Vietnam’s Penal Code in line with the institutionalisation of the 2013 Constitution.

Deputy Minister of Justice Dinh Trung Tung said amendments to the Penal Code need to act as effective deterrents, increase the humanity of punishments, and comply with human rights, as well as the basic rights and civil duties of citizens.

Generally speaking, the Penal Codes should be brought in line with the 2013 Constitution and the international conventions to which Vietnam is a party, he emphasised.

Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Louise Chamberlain highlighted three main priorities for adapting the penal system to international law, namely reducing the number of death sentences, fully implementing the UN Convention against Torture, and ensuring the Penal Code respects the human rights of all Vietnamese citizens.

If these objectives are met, and support is provided by other institutions, the safety and security of Vietnamese people will be assured and society will be stabilised by the rule of law, she said.

UNDP experts provided feedback on major policies and the Penal Code amendments proposed at the forum by representatives of the Ministry of Justice. They also presented recommendations relating to the code in a report of the UN Human Rights Council.

Representatives from other UN organisations also put forth suggestions for amending and supplementing the code to ensure it complies with international law.

The legal policy dialogue forum is part of a Vietnam-UNDP cooperation project on strengthening access to justice and protecting rights in Vietnam.-VNA