Top court mulls penal code change

The Supreme People’s Court on March 28 looked into issues relating to the draft law revising the 2015 Penal Code, including the scope of criminal responsibility by those aged 14 to 16 and the criminal liability of adults in commerce.

The Supreme People’s Court looked into issues relating to the draft law revising the 2015 Penal Code. (Photo: VNA)

The Penal Code states that persons between the ages of 14 and 16 bear responsibility for very serious crimes intentionally committed.

The draft amended code expands the scope of the criminal liability of children aged 14 to 16: they will also be liable for intentionally causing injuries or damage to other people’s health, rape, and kidnapping for ransom.

Pham Minh Tuyen, chief judge of Bac Ninh province’s People’s Court, said he disagreed with the changes.

“Some people say new regulations will prevent school violence. I don’t think so. School violence is the fault of the family, school and society, it’s not children’s fault. We can’t make our children bear responsibility for that,” Tuyen said.

Nguyen Huu Chinh, chief judge of the Hanoi People’s Court, said the current regulations (the 1999 Penal Code) should remain unchanged.

The draft lists 28 crimes for which those aged 14 to 16 are to be held responsible. “The list is insufficient. For example, those from 14 to 16 can be taken advantage of to commit crimes that pose a threat to the nation’s security, because they won’t have to bear liability for such crimes under the amended law,” he said.

Pham Duc Tuyen, deputy chief judge of the Hai Phong People’s Court, agreed, and insisted that the regulations remain the same.

Discussion also focused on proposals to amend articles relating to preparation to commit a crime.  The draft law says preparation of weapons or dangerous chemical substances in order to inflict injuries on other people can result in jail terms of three months to two years.

“I think this is a proper and effective way to prevent crime from an early stage,” said Bui Van Giang, a judge from the National Military Court.

Regarding the liability of legal persons in commerce, the chief judge of the Quang Ninh People’s Court, Ninh Hoang Van, said a specific penal liability is needed for individuals who act in the name of the collective and commit crimes.

Pham Duc Tuyen, deputy chief judge of the Hai Phong People’s Court, said the classification of crimes by legal persons in commerce was insufficient. “The identification of penalties would be fair and accurate only when the classification of the crimes is done properly,” Tuyen said.


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