5th International Conference on Comparative Law in Hanoi

The 5th International Conference on Comparative Law took place in Hanoi from 8 to 10 September on the topic of "The Rule of Law and independent Justice". The conference was organised by the IRZ and the Vietnamese Institute of Human Rights. Attendees included the lawyer and writer, Professor Bernhard Schlink, the expert in constitutional law, Professor Bodo Pieroth, and Dr. Thomas Flint, a judge at the Federal Social Court of Germany.

Since 2011, the IRZ has been organising conferences on topics concerning constitutional law in cooperation with the Vietnamese Institute of Human Rights, which is a member of the National Academy of Politics and Public Administration. The objective of the IRZ is to help support human rights in connection with legal reforms in Vietnam and conduct projects aimed at strengthening the ongoing discussions on respecting human rights.

This year's conference, which took place from 8 to 10 September 2015, focussed on the requirements for the constitutional organisation and institutional independence of the justice system as a basic aspect of protecting human rights. Vietnam has long been focussed on the objective of becoming a constitutional state and has initiated many legal reform projects.

It is worth emphasizing the amendment to the constitution with effect from 1 January 2014. This led to successful reforms in many areas of law, accompanied by lively debate amongst those applying the law, as well as amongst citizens. The main topics of discussion were:

  • Division of powers
  • Protecting citizens' rights in relation to the state
  • Further legal training of judges
  • State liability
  • The authority of supervisory mechanisms

In addition, Professor Schlink and Professor Pieroth took a lecture at the Law School in Hanoi on the Principles of Proportionality (Schlink) and on the Federal Constitutional Court (Pieroth), followed by discussions with lecturers and students.

Professor Schlink has made a name for himself not only as a legal expert, but also as an author. His novel "The Reader" was made into a successful film in 2008 and has been translated into more than 55 languages, including Vietnamese. The German Embassy in Hanoi therefore took the opportunity to show the film and arrange a discussion afterwards between the audience and the author, in which many young Vietnamese people in particular took part with enthusiasm.

New Three-Year Agreement in German-Vietnamese Rule-of-Law Dialogue

The intensive Rule-of-Law Dialogue between Germany and Vietnam was extended by three years in April by a new agreement.

On 14 April 2015, the Parliamentary State Secretary, Mr Christian Lange, and the Vice-Minister of Justice, Ms Nguyen Thuy Hien, signed the new work programme in a ceremonial act for the period of April 2015 to April 2018. The programme is aimed at implementing the German-Vietnamese Rule-of-Law Dialogue which was initiated by a joint declaration of the two foreign ministers in 2008 and has been extended and detailed for the third time by the respective three-year programmes since 2009.

This intensive cooperation in the fields of law and the judiciary underscores the close partnership between the two countries, which are celebrating 40 years of diplomatic relations this year.

The Agreement is aimed at continuing the legal-judicial cooperation with the central idea being support for the rule of law and the modernisation of the legal system in Vietnam. The coming years will particularly be marked by a large number of reform processes to harmonise the existing regulations with the new constitution against the background that the new constitution entered into effect on 1 January 2014.

The IRZ is an important partner in the implementation of the Rule-of-Law Dialogue and will initiate many measures under the programme this year as well. The cooperation will focus on the consultations of the Ministry of Justice and the People's Prosecution Office concerning the upcoming reforms of the Civil Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure. Numerous measures are moreover planned with regard to the further training of legal practitioners. The IRZ offers these events in cooperation with the Judicial Academy and the Bar Association as partners.

The IRZ will also organise a conference aimed at strengthening human rights and the independence of the judiciary for the fifth time in a row with the Institute for Human Rights.

Against the background of Vietnam's current eagerness to carry out reforms and the fact that both the Party Conference and the Parliamentary elections will take place next year, the IRZ is looking forward expectantly to the upcoming developments and projects in Vietnam.

International Conference on Comparative Law on the Topic of Protection of Human Rights in Hanoi

Participants of the International Conference on Comparative Law on the Topic of Protection of Human Rights in Hanoi

Participants of the International Conference on Comparative Law on the Topic of Protection of Human Rights in Hanoi

For the fourth time in a row the IRZ and the Institute of Human Rights have organised a conference on the protection and enforcement of human rights. Some 50 participants from academic institutions, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People’s Prosecutor’s Office as well as from other judicial institutions attended the conference. Human rights as well as fundamental rights have been a particular focus in Vietnam since the reform of the Constitution with effect from 1 January 2014.The new Constitution does not extend these rights, but nevertheless the government has been regularly pointing out that fundamental rights were moved up from chapter 5 to chapter 2 of the Constitution with the intention to strengthen the respect of them.Furthermore, the Ministry of Justice announced that all laws were to be reviewed or adapted to ensure that they are in line with the Constitution.Moreover, reforms to restructure the courts (separation of the court districts from the administrative districts) and to reorganise the public prosecutor’s offices have been initiated.The German presenters were Renate Citron-Piorkowski, judge at the Administrative Court of Berlin; Prof Dr Birgit Daiber, Seoul National University School of Law, and Susanne Bunke from the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.They gave an overview of how the German Constitution came into being and has developed, of the obligation to respect fundamental rights, of the legal protection in case of violations of the Constitution, of the European Human Rights Charter as well as of similarities and differences of Vietnamese and German concepts of the Constitution.These topics were discussed with enthusiasm and in detail, whereby the different perspectives on fundamental and human rights were revealed.