Study Trip to Berlin and Karlsruhe by the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam

Delegation from the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam at the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe

In early July 2022, IRZ joined with the Federal Ministry of Justice to organise a high-ranking study trip to Berlin and Karlsruhe for the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam as part of the German-Vietnamese Rule of Law Dialogue. Led by Chief Justice Nguyen Hoa Binh, the eleven-strong delegation included judges from the Supreme People’s Court and the Hanoi District People’s Court, the director of the Supreme People’s Court Academy and representatives from other departments.

Vietnam has initiated a long-term strategy aimed at strengthening and improving the rule of law. The Vision 2045 development strategy includes plans for extensive structural reforms for the period from 2021 to 2030, which will also extend to the judicial field. Among the goals is to achieve a clearer delineation of task and powers assigned to government bodies at the legislative, executive and judicial levels. Nguyen Hoa, Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court, is at the heart of these reforms – as a member of the Politburo, he is in charge of implementing reforms of the judiciary within the framework of this rule of law programme. Against this backdrop, the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam had asked for expert talks on court organisation and administration, special court jurisdiction, lay jurisdiction (lay judges) and juvenile jurisdiction.

This brief visit started at the Federal Ministry of Justice in Berlin, where, after a video greeting by State Secretary Dr Angelika Schlunck, the delegation shared views with speakers from various departments on the structure of the court system in Germany, including criminal jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of the states, as well as on juvenile criminal law. The concept of juvenile court assistance as well as diversion met with great interest, which was well illustrated during a subsequent visit to the Berlin-Tiergarten Local Court, which included practical explanations of sanctioning practice in German juvenile criminal law, as well as a tour of the facilities for victims and witness support for children and juveniles.

The highlight of the study trip was a visit to the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, where key issues of court administration such as the allocation of cases and the stages of proceedings (appeals, complaints against denial of leave to appeal) were addressed in more detail. The delegation provided a summary of Vietnam’s extensive reform projects in the judicial field and stressed the particular significance of comparing legal systems in discussions with colleagues from the highest German court of general jurisdiction as part of the visit agenda.

A translation of the German Judiciary Act and the Youth Courts Act into Vietnamese was requested by the head of the delegation, as draft laws must be submitted to the National Assembly by May 2023, in which the European rules should be taken into account. The translated laws will be made available to the Vietnamese side shortly.

After completing the talks in Germany, the delegation travelled on to France for more technical discussions.

Workshop on legislative advice in Vietnam


In the first half of December 2021, the IRZ held a workshop on legislative advice on how to prevent and combat domestic violence with the Vietnam Lawyer's Association (VLA) and the Center for Consulting on Legal and Policy on Health and HIV/Aids (CCLPHH; associated with the VLA). The event is embedded in the German-Vietnamese dialogue on the rule of law between the justice ministries of both countries, which was implemented in 2010.

The basis of this request for advice from Vietnam to the IRZ is the reform of the law on the prevention and combating of domestic violence, the revised version of which is to be passed by the National Assembly in 2022. The law on combating domestic violence, which has been in force since 2008, is considered to be insufficient, and there are plans to give greater consideration to combating psychological and sexualised violence in the amendment to the law.

The workshop took place as a hybrid event. The Vietnamese participants assembled in the conference room in Hanoi, the German experts joined in via zoom.

Dr. Stefan Weismann, President of the Regional Court of Bonn, and Susanne Bunke, Head of Department of the Federal Ministry of Justice (Department of Sexual Criminal Law; Criminology, Criminal Law Combating Doping; Statistics of the Administration of Justice), presented the German experience with the relevant provisions. They explored the civil and criminal law aspects of the law, protective measures and practical implementation.

In their presentations, the Vietnamese speakers critically addressed concrete proposals for changes to the draft law and discussed aspects of the German Protection Against Violence Act, the German regulations on sanctions and the current measures in criminal law, including the reform of sexual offences (the "no means no” solution) with the German speakers.

Some high-level speakers attended the event, including several representatives of the Vietnamese National Assembly, various ministries and the responsible editorial working group.

Overall, the event was characterised by exciting, open contributions to the discussion and lively debates, offering the German and Vietnamese representatives an excellent opportunity for mutual exchanges.

The IRZ will continue to follow the further development of the law on the prevention and combating of domestic violence and, if necessary, follow up on this legislative consultation with a subsequent and more in-depth event.

Online seminar on “Asset recovery in corruption cases” with the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice in Hanoi and Berlin

During the online seminar in Berlin: Tobias Oelsner (left), Presiding Judge at the Regional Court of Berlin; Marion Schwark (right), Public Prosecutor at the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office; Anke Friedel-Nguyen (on the right at the rear), interpreter
During the online seminar in Berlin: Tobias Oelsner (left), Presiding Judge at the Regional Court of Berlin; Marion Schwark (right), Public Prosecutor at the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office; Anke Friedel-Nguyen (on the right at the rear), interpreter

On 26 May 2020, IRZ organised its first joint event with the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice this year, with an online seminar on “Asset recovery in corruption cases” in Hanoi and Berlin. The seminar was aimed at:

  • officers working in the Enforcement Department at the Ministry of Justice,
  • judges,
  • public prosecutors,
  • financial investigators,
  • enforcement officers and
  • representatives of the Law School.

The fight against corruption is a very high priority in Vietnam at the moment and party leaders are calling for the reform of the current legal situation and law enforcement practice. The Ministry of Justice is working on a concept to make asset recovery in corruption cases more effective and has asked IRZ for support in this matter. German experiences in this field are of particular interest. And so, in consultation with the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, this subject was included in the annual programme for 2020, as part of the German-Vietnamese dialogue on the rule of law.

Due to the easing of contact restrictions relating to the coronavirus pandemic in Vietnam, it was possible to bring together around 30 participants in a seminar room and the online event went smoothly using state-of-the-art technology.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Justice was represented by its Vice Minister, Mai Luong Khoi. Joining the online seminar from Berlin as IRZ experts were Public Prosecutor Marion Schwark from the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office and Judge Tobias Oelsner, Presiding Judge at the Regional Court of Berlin. They discussed the following topics with the Vietnamese participants:

  • the basics of law enforcement in civil law,
  • the securing and seizure of assets originating from unlawful acts,the reform of laws on asset recovery passed on 1 July 2017, in particular independent confiscation under article 76a of the German penal code,
  • issues of responsibility and effective cooperation with the authorities.

The participants were very grateful for the valuable insight into the German system, since the effective recovery of assets is a powerful weapon in the fight against increasing levels of corruption. Due to shortcomings in this area in Vietnam, cooperation in this field is set to continue, allowing significant improvements to be made to the legal situation and the law enforcement practice in future.