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Handling Juvenile Offenders Under Criminal Law in Vietnam (From UNAFEI: Annual Report for 2007 and Resource Material Series No. 75, P 128-135, 2008, Grace Lord, ed. See NCJ-229038)

NCJ Number
Chu Thanh Quang
Date Published
August 2008
8 pages
This paper presents trends in the number of juvenile offenders in Vietnam (2004-2006) and reviews the legal provisions pertinent to the processing of juvenile offenders.
In 2004, there were 2,540 juvenile offenders in Vietnam, followed by an increase to 5,305 juvenile offenders in 2005. In the first 9 months of 2006, there were 4,438 juvenile offenders. Clearly, there is an alarming increase in juvenile offending in Vietnam, with many of the offenders being drug addicts or alcoholics. Vietnam has no separate court system for processing juveniles; they are processed by the general criminal court system; however Vietnam's Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code has special provisions that are applicable to juvenile offenders. These codes specify the age subject to penal liability; principles for processing juvenile offenders; judicial measures and penalties applicable to juvenile offenders; and the order and procedures for investigating, prosecuting, and adjudicating juvenile offenders and executing judgments. The procedures for processing juvenile offenders are intended to focus on educating them, helping redress the harms they have caused, and assisting them to develop into law-abiding citizens. Depending on the nature of their offenses and the criminal intent, juveniles are subject to the following penalties: a warning, a fine, noncustodial reform, and a term of imprisonment. Prison terms for juveniles are served in facilities separate from adult offenders, and they must be provided with job training or general education while in prison. Juvenile defendants must be assisted by defense counsel. The participation of juveniles' families, schools, and community organizations in the processing of a juvenile is not only a right, but an obligation. The author of this paper recommends that investigators, prosecutors, and judges be trained to specialize in handling juvenile cases. Also, attorneys who represent juveniles must be trained to protect their rights and advocate for their effective rehabilitation. Appended charts of the Vietnam court system and the organization of the Supreme People's Court of Vietnam