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How to handle juvenile crime draws mixed suggestions

Van Ly
Thursday,  May 25,2017,23:59 (GMT+7)
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How to handle juvenile crime draws mixed suggestions

Van Ly

HANOI – National Assembly (NA) deputies were split over principles for handling juvenile offenders as provided in a draft law revising the 2015 Penal Code, with some supporting criminalization of offenders aged from full 14 to 16 and others expressing concern over serious consequences caused by such treatment.

During a session on May 24, Le Thi Nga, chair of the Legislation Committee of the NA, said the committee had worked with the judiciary and police to collect inputs and held seminars to discuss the draft law.

Some deputies threw their weight behind the prevailing regulations that hold offenders aged 14 to 16 liable for serious crimes deliberately committed, including intentional infliction of injury, rape and kidnapping

for ransom. Recent data shows that juvenile delinquency in

Vietnam is at an alarming level both in number and seriousness, leading to drastic preventive measures.

Meanwhile, others agreed that persons who are 14 to below 16 years old should be immune from penal liability if the three crimes mentioned are classified as “not serious” or “serious” as per revisions in the draft law presented by the Government, Nga said.

The 2015 Penal Code stipulates that persons aged 14 to under 16 have to bear penal responsibility not only for crimes classified as “very serious” and “particularly serious” but also the three offences mentioned above at the “not serious” and “serious” levels. Therefore, the NA Standing Committee is seeking the NA’s approval for the two options.

During the revision process, the committee, the Government, the court and NA committees supported the Government’s solution as it ensures consistency in policies against juvenile offending while protecting teenagers in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children.

At these ages, the application of measures such as education at grassroots level, reconciliation, reprimand and administrative punishment is suitable, Nga said.

Some deputies said harsh measures would cause heavy consequences for young offenders.

Deputy Nguyen Thi Thuy from Bac Kan Province said that criminals aged from 14 to 16 are just eighth or ninth graders, so tough measures will adversely affect their future.

According to the Supreme People’s Procuracy of Vietnam, only over 200 offenders aged from 14 to 16 faced criminal charges between 2014 and 2016, in which nine were prosecuted for rape and two for robbery. Most young criminals had problematic family backgrounds.

The 2015 Penal Code is too harsh for expanding criminal liability against youngsters because they still suffer psychological immaturity and have little knowledge of laws.

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