- Published: June 1, 2018
Legal Policy Situation
Since 2010, the IRZ has implemented projects within the framework of the German-Vietnamese rule of law dialogue , which was established in 2008 between the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice. Through a better understanding of Vietnamese traditions and culture, the aim of the rule-of-law initiative of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection is to contribute jointly to the enforcement of the rule of law both in thought and action, including the effective protection of human rights. Most recently a threeyear programme was prepared in April 2015 with a term until April 2018.
Since the new Constitution came into force on 1 January 2014, Vietnam has initiated reform efforts to implement human rights guarantees. Against this background, the IRZ has conducted measures to promote a dialogue on the rule of law and independent judiciary as essential elements of the protection of human rights and fundamental rights as part of its current intensive cooperation with partner institutions. The amendments to the Vietnamese Code of Criminal Procedure and the Criminal Code, which were developed in 2015 and are implemented with effect of 1 January 2018, confirm the desire towards enforcing fundamental rights more rigorously.
One focus of the IRZ continues to lie on strengthening fundamental and human rights in Vietnam. In the year under review, the IRZ once again sustained its cooperation with the Vietnamese Institute for Human Rights (VIHR), which has been in place since 2011 and is funded by the Federal Foreign Office. The implementation of constitutional requirements in criminal law and criminal procedure law were key areas here. A study trip provided participants with a comprehensive insight into German practice.
Further, a visit to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg was organised to introduce the central institution for the enforcement of the European Convention on Human Rights. In addition, a three-day event was organised in Can Tho with German experts, including lawyers from practice and academia and state institutions from Vietnam in attendance. Here, the German experience in implementing rule-of-law and democratic principles in a criminal justice system that prioritises human rights and fundamental freedoms took centre stage.
The Bar Association is a long-standing partner with whom cooperation has been intensified recently. Institutional self-administration, which was addressed in the projects of the year under review, continues to be of interest. Furthermore, the provisions of the new Vietnamese Code of Criminal Procedure were a focal point. The reason for this is that the amended procedural law spells out the rights of criminal defence in greater detail, more specific and extensive than before. It should be mentioned here that the presumption of innocence and the requirements for a court-appointed defence were stipulated for the first time. As violations by prosecution authorities or the courts did not have any consequences within the scope of the old Code of Criminal Procedure, exercising the rights granted by the new provisions is even more important. However, it also poses an extraordinary challenge.
A workshop with the Judicial Academy was also devoted to the reformed Code of Criminal Procedure. There is a special need in this area at the practice-oriented central training agency for young members of the judiciary, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Bar, the notaries’ office and other legal professions. The event addressed special investigation methods in particular and saw comparative-law discussions on the new regulations in relation to German experience.
Further criminal law activities were carried out together with the Ministry of Public Security in Hanoi. Topics discussed included the obligation to record evidence on video, victims’ law and witness protection introduced by the new Criminal Procedure Code. The participants were members of the departments responsible for supervising several police investigating authorities.
Juvenile jurisdiction was the subject of a seminar with the Supreme People’s Court. This particular judiciary is only taking its first steps in Vietnam; there is only one juvenile court in Ho Chi Minh City. The efforts to expand, including specific further training for judges, have been intensified recently and were discussed vigorously with German judge colleagues.
In addition, the IRZ provided support for a working visit to Berlin, during which the delegation, led by the Deputy President of the Court, looked into issues relating to court organisation.
Regarding civil and family law, the IRZ was able to support the nongovernmental organisation “Center for Consulting on Legal and Policy on Health” for the first time ever this year with a workshop on providing advice on transgender legislation. This was preceded by new provisions of the Civil Code that took effect at the beginning of 2017 that provide for greater protection of fundamental rights by including a separate law for transgender persons.
Foci of Activity 2017
Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforcement
- Comparative law conference on constitutional law implications for criminal law and criminal procedural law in Can Tho; supported by the Foreign Office
- Study trip by a delegation of the Vietnamese Institute for Human Rights (VIHR) to Frankfurt am Main and Strasbourg/France; supported by the Foreign Office
Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law
- Workshop on special investigation methods according to the amended criminal procedure law at the Judicial Academy in Hanoi
- Workshop with the Vietnamese Bar Association on selected aspects of the amended Code of Criminal Procedure (comparison with German criminal law) in Hanoi and Can Tho
- Workshop on regulations on victim protection within criminal procedures and the use of video technology in criminal procedures, with special emphasis on the preservation of evidence and victim protection with the Ministry of Public Security in Hanoi
- Workshop on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of family and juvenile courts with the Supreme People’s Court in Hanoi
Civil and Commercial Law
- Workshop on providing advice on drafting transgender legislation with the Vietnamese Centre on Legal and Policy on Health in Hanoi
Administration of Justice
- Study trip to Berlin with the Vietnamese Bar Association on selected aspects of the law of the legal professions (specialised lawyer model, organisation of law firms, etc.)
- Cooperation with the Vietnamese Bar Association and participation in the 3 rd International Lawyers Forum with Vietnamese Bar representatives in Berlin
- Study trip to Berlin with the Supreme People’s Court on court organisation, judges’ salaries and appointment of judges to Berlin
Basic and Further Training
- Participation of two Vietnamese students in the IRZ’s “summer school German Law” in Bonn
- Specialist translation of the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code from Vietnamese into German.
The is striving to continue its activities in the areas of law that have been addressed thus far, including criminal law, criminal procedure law and court organisation with the respective cooperation partners. With the scheduled commencement of the amended substantive and procedural criminal law, there will still be a great need for advice in the application of the law, especially regarding systematic processing. For this purpose, the IRZ relies on proven formats with the project partners to take a differentiated approach in enlarging upon the respective perspectives of the different legal professions.