Nguyen Van Hoan, deputy head of the group compiling revisions to the 2015 Penal Code, spoke to Nong thon Ngay nay (Countryside Today) about changes relating to capital punishment.
How do you respond to a change to the 2015 Penal Code that says the death penalty will not apply for officials who pay back at least 75 per cent of illicitly obtained profits?
This is regulated in Point C, Clause 3 in Article 40 of the 2015 Penal Code. Some people think this is too lenient, but in my opinion, it is not.
The most severe penalty for the crimes of embezzlement and bribery was capital punishment under the previous Penal Code. During discussions regarding revisions to this law, legislators agreed to keep capital punishment as deterrent for the two crimes, but reduce it to life imprisonment if the criminal is able to pay back at least 75 per cent of the profits they illicitly obtained.
Can current prisoners be given amnesty if they repent and adhere to the new law?
These cases will be treated carefully. The criteria for considering whether they should be granted amnesty would be much stricter and tougher than for other prisoners serving life sentences. For example, lifers could have their sentence reduced to 20 years for good behaviour.
If a death sentence is reduced to life imprisonment, they must serve at least 30 years.
As I have mentioned above, officials convicted of corruption could be spared if they pay back at least 75 per cent of the profits they illicitly obtained. In addition, there are other requirements that these prisoners would have to meet, including helping authorities to conduct investigations into other corruption cases.
If an official stole VND100 billion (US$4.45 million) and received the death sentence, they could pay back 75 per cent and have their sentence reduced. What would happen to the other VND25 billon ($1.11 million)?
Under the 2015 Penal Code, any public official who illegally obtains VND1 billion upwards could receive capital punishment. Point C, Clause 3 of Article 40 of the 2015 Penal Code applies to all prisoners who receive death sentences relating to corruption, regard less of the amount of money. However, during their prison terms, they may enjoy clemency for good behaviour. — VNS