Members of the 13th National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee scrutinised amendments to the Penal Code during the committee’s ongoing 37th session in Hanoi on April 7, voicing contrary opinions on the restriction of the death penalty.

The Government has proposed reducing the crimes eligible to the death penalty to 15 from the current 22, saying that the reduction is aimed to demonstrate the State’s humanitarian policy and carry out judicial reform.

While most participants backed the general proposal, NA Vice Chairman Huynh Ngoc Son argued that the death penalty should not be abolished for the crime of breaching peace, the crime of waging aggressive war, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, deemed the most serious among the crimes.

Chairwoman of the NA Committee for Social Affairs Truong Thi Mai agreed with the draft revision to not impose the death penalty on criminals aged 70 and above in line with global standards.

Son countered, saying people in their 70’s are generally still physically and mentally capable, able to continue perpetuating crimes such as leading crime organisations.

He urged the classification of specific groups of crimes and communicating circumstances for the death penalty in the hope of deterring criminals.

The draft revised Penal Code comprises 441 articles, increasing by 87 articles from the current one. It supplements 63 articles, amends 370 articles and abrogates eight others in the current Penal Code.

NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung emphasised that the amendment of the Penal Code should be in line with the spirit of the 2013 Constitution, particularly in issues related to the people. He asked relevant agencies to continue working on the draft before submitting it to the NA again.

The NA Standing Committee’s 37th session is convening from April 6-10.-VNA