Workshop on legislative advice in Vietnam

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
Vietnam

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.

Two workshops on the practical application of the new Code of Criminal Procedure

During the workshop in Hanoi on 27 and 28 February 2019
During the workshop in Hanoi on 27 and 28 February 2019
Vietnam

In cooperation with the Vietnam Bar Federation (VBF) and supported by the German Federal Bar (BRAK), the IRZ organised two workshops in Nha Trang on 24 and 25 February and in Hanoi on 26 and 27 February on the practical application of the Vietnamese Code of Criminal Procedure, which came into force in 2018. The IRZ had already provided advice on its drafting during the reform process.

The two IRZ experts and Berlin specialist lawyers for criminal law, Nikolai Venn (Freyschmidt Frings Pananis Venn law firm) and Ursus Koerner von Gustorf (Hensel and Koerner von Gustorf law firm) gave a lecture on both seminar days, covering the following topics:

  • Position and function of the defence counsel;
  • preparation of the main hearing and definition of the defence goal;
  • technical preparation and use of electronic files;
  • the client’s statement on the facts of the case;
  • hearing of witnesses;
  • hearing of experts and
  • final speech of the defence and the prosecution.

Their Vietnamese colleagues gave an overview of their initial experiences with the new Code of Criminal Procedure and its practical implementation (which is in some cases still deficient).

The participants discussed the latest positive developments and praised the major innovations in the course of the reform: the presumption of innocence, the right to inspect the files, and in particular the defence counsel’s right to file a motion to take evidence.

It was repeatedly pointed out that lawyers in their function as agent of the administration of justice play an important role in protecting citizens’ and human rights, and that they have to come up to this moral authority and fight for their rights according to this self-concept. It was said that the presentations of the German experts were very encouraging and showed that the new regulations provide a lot of potential which has to be leveraged now.