Workshop in Da Nang
Workshop in Da Nang

In June 2018, the IRZ together with the Vietnamese Institute for Human Rights (VIHR) organised workshops focussing on criminal law on 18 and 19 June in Hanoi and on 21 and 22 June in Da Nang. The workshops on substantive and procedural criminal law were held as part of a project supported by the German Foreign Office. The workshops were aimed at the definitive structuring of constitutional provisions.

Following an extensive lead time, a new penal code and reformed criminal procedural law have been in force in Vietnam since 1 February 2018. These amendments are part of efforts to ensure respect for human rights guarantees and basic rights since the new constitution came into force in 2014.

These challenges were dealt with during both events, in which lectures by Vietnamese and German speakers from the academic and business worlds created an opportunity for a forum of up-to-date exchanges. The speakers involved in the events included:

  • Prof. Dr. Tuong Duy Kien, Director of the VIHR,
  • Prof. Dr. Georg-Friedrich Güntge, Senior Public Prosecutor at the Schleswig-Holstein office of the public prosecutor general and honorary law professor at the University of Kiel and
  • Dr. Matthias Hartwig, an academic at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law.

The lectures dealt with the new regulations, such as the presumption of innocence or the video recording of hearings. The delimitation of powers of the court, public prosecutors, police and defendants was also an intensely discussed topic. Since the public prosecutor's office in Vietnam is not only responsible for criminal investigations, but also ensures the supervision of compliance with procedural regulations at court, many practical issues concerning the exercising of the public prosecutor’s duties were also discussed. Various Vietnamese speakers gave a self-critical presentation of definitive suggestions for improvement, whilst their German colleagues explained the requirements in accordance with international and German law.

All those involved in the workshops displayed a clear awareness of the need for measures to be implemented at various levels. At these meetings, the changes to the consistent observation of human rights in criminal law and criminal procedural law were discussed constructively from various perspectives.