Vietnam will not consider abolishing capital punishment for corruption offenses, deputy chairman of the National Assembly Uong Chu Luu has said. The abolition of the death penalty has been recommended for several crimes in Vietnam but that punishment will still be applied to those convicted of corruption as the highest sanction, Deputy Chairman Luu said. The most prominent point of the proposed amendments to the Penal Code that the central government is about to submit to the National Assembly is narrowing the applicable scope of capital punishment, lowering jail-term sentences, and increasing pecuniary penalties, the official said in a recent meeting. These new moves will help create conditions for offenders to remedy what they have brought about while committing crimes, he said. Thus the abolition of the death penalty has been proposed for seven crimes, but they do not include corruption charges, he added. Most participants in a recent seminar organized by the National Assembly Justice Committee agreed on that proposition, Luu said. He stressed that corruption has caused great discontent and anxiety in society and the Party and State have shown strong determination to combat it, so the death penalty should be maintained as the highest punishment for those found guilty of corruption. In a seminar on March 24, Dr. Nguyen Tat Vien, a standing member of the Central Steering Committee for Justice Reform, said, “There are many opinions saying that the death penalty should be abolished for corruption or embezzlement convictions, but I think that such abolition should not be approved given the current situation.” “Bribery and embezzlement are causing anger and displeasure in our society, undermining the prestige and efficiency of the state apparatus and threatening the survival of our regime. If we do not severely crack down on such wrongdoings, people will lose their trust in the ongoing fight against corruption,” Dr. Vien said. However, among the amendments to the Penal Code is a suggestion that capital punishment should be commuted to a life sentence if the convicted can submit to competent agencies at least half of the money or property they have gained from their crimes; actively work with investigators on detecting, investigating, and handling criminals; or achieve a great feat. Vietnam is mulling over the abolition of the death penalty for seven crimes: plundering property; destroying important national security works and/or facilities; disobeying orders in the military; surrendering to the enemy, which is applicable in the army; undermining peace, provoking aggressive wars; crimes against mankind; and war crimes.
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