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Viet Nam & UN  »  Legal Issues  »  66th General Assembly
 
REPORT TO THE COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE ON VIET NAM'S IMPLEMENTATION OF RESOLUTION 1624 (2005) BY THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL ON SUPPLEMENTARY COUNTER-TERRORISM MEASURES
10-20-2011, 04:11 pm

INTRODUCTION

It is Viet Nam’s consistent position to strongly condemn all acts of terrorism irrespective of their forms and motivations. All perpetrators of terrorist acts, including those conducting incitement of terrorist acts, must be brought to justice. Viet Nam supports the efforts to eliminate terrorism from the life of mankind, and holds that cooperation measures to counter terrorism must be conducted in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and basic principles of international law.

Based on the guidance provided in the Note Verbale No. SCA/3/11 (02) dated 27 May 2011 by the Counter-terrorism Committee of the United Nations Security Council, the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam hereby submits to the Counter-terrorism Committee of the United Nations Security Council the Report on Viet Nam's implementation of Resolution 1624.

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Question 1: How does your Government assess the evolution of risks and threats in your State associated with the issue of incitement to commit acts of terrorism?

Answer:

Viet Nam has assessed the evolution of risks and threats associated with the issue of incitement to commit acts of terrorism through the implementation of the following measures:

1. Maintaining a close watch over the political and security conditions in the country as well as in the region and the world; gathering and processing information; forecasting possible scenarios.

2. Establishing information exchange mechanisms with Interpol, ASEANPOL and other countries’ security, intelligence and police forces for making assessment of the impacts and potential threats to Viet Nam's national security including those related to the incitement of terrorist acts.

3. Establishing mechanisms for coordinating and exchanging information among relevant agencies and organizations of Viet Nam as well as between them and Vietnamese diplomatic missions abroad for accurate assessment and timely application of preventive measures to deal with threats associated with the issue of incitement to commit acts of terrorism (if any).

4. Launching a campaign for entire people to participate in national security defense; instructing agencies from central to local levels to conduct measures to disseminate information, mobilize and encourage the people, agencies, socio-economic organizations to participate in the protection of national security, with a view to raising people’s vigilance and ensuring their timely report of suspicious terrorist-related activities to competent agencies.

Question 2: Can you please describe any new measures your Government has taken to prohibit and prevent incitement to commit acts of terrorism, to deny safe haven, or to cooperate with other States to strengthen the security of international borders, with a view to preventing those guilty of incitement from entering your State’s territory.

Answer:

1. Measures to prohibit and prevent incitement to commit acts of terrorism

1.1. In terms of policy, Viet Nam always gives priority to the prevention of terrorist activities while proactively building the capacity to deal with possible terrorist acts. To this end, in November 2007, the Prime Minister signed the Directive No. 25/2007/CT-TTg on Counter-Terrorism in the New Situation. To implement the Directive, relevant ministries and agencies have established their counter-terrorism committees, focal points and coordinated closely with other ministries and agencies in the tasks related to prevention and countering of terrorism.

1.2. In terms of legal framework, Viet Nam amended its 1999 Penal Code in 2009 by adopting the Law Amending and Supplementing Some Articles of the Penal Code to ensure the country’s compliance to international commitments on counter-terrorism. The amendments include the change in Article 84 from "Terrorism" to "Terrorism against the People's Authority," and the supplementation of two terrorist-related Articles: 230a "Terrorism" and Article 230b "Financing of terrorism."

"Article 230a. Terrorism

  1. Those who intend to cause public panic by infringing upon the lives of others or destroying property of agencies, organizations and individuals shall be sentenced to between ten and twenty years of imprisonment, life imprisonment or capital punishment.
  2. Committing the crime in case of infringing upon body freedom and health, or appropriating and damaging property of agencies, organizations and individuals, offenders shall be sentenced to between five and fifteen years of imprisonment.
  3.  Committing the crime in case of threatening to commit any of acts specified in Clause 1 of this Article or committing other acts of mental intimidation, offenders shall be sentenced to between two and seven years of imprisonment.
  4. Offenders may also be subject to probation, residence ban for between one and five years, confiscation of part or the whole of their property.

 

Article 230b. Financing of terrorism

  1.  Those who raise and contribute money and property in any form to terrorism organizations or terrorists shall be sentenced to between five and ten years of imprisonment.
  2. Offenders may also be subject to probation, residence ban for between one and five years, confiscation of part or the whole of their property.

The 1999 Penal Code, as amended in 2009, has not specifically provided for the offence related to the incitement of terrorism. However, the provision on “accomplice” in Article 20 of the 1999 Penal Code, as amended in 2009, clearly stipulates that “organizers, executers, inciters, and supporters are all accomplices,” “the inciter is the one who incites, induces and stimulates others to commit crimes.” Accordingly, terrorism instigators shall be punished under Article 84 on “Terrorist crimes against the People’s Administration” or under Article 230a on “Terrorism” in the 1999 Penal Code, as amended in 2009.

1.3. Given the above mentioned policies and legal framework, Viet Nam has taken specific measures as follows:

- Disseminating information, mobilizing and encouraging people, agencies and socio-economic organizations to participate in the protection of national security with a view to raising the people’s vigilance and ensuring their timely report on suspicious terrorist-related activities to competent agencies;

- Gathering and processing information, forecasting possible scenarios; issuing in a timely manner guidelines and policies to eliminate sabotaging and terrorist acts;

- Enhancing administrative management of weapons, flammable substances, explosives and toxins and management of people’s temporary residence and absence.

 

2. Measures to deny safe haven to terrorism

2.1. First and foremost, it should be underlined that the consistent policy of Viet Nam is not to allow terrorists to seek safe haven in Viet Nam.

2.2. In terms of legal framework, the 1999 Penal Code, as amended in 2009, consists of provisions prescribing the punishment on concealment of or failure to denounce crimes in general and terrorist crimes in particular, including:

“Article 313. Concealing offences

1.       Those who, without prior promise, conceal one of these offences defined in the following articles shall be sentenced to non-custodial reform for up to three years or between six months and five years of imprisonment: 

2.       Articles from 78 to 91 on crimes of infringement upon national security [including Article 84 – Terrorist crimes against the People’s Administration];

[…]

Article 314. Failing to denounce crimes

  1. Those who have full knowledge of one of the crimes defined in Article 313 of this Code, which is being prepared, is being or has been committed, but fail to denounce it, shall be subject to warning, non-custodial reform for up to three years or a prison term of between three months and three years.”

In addition, Viet Nam has also issued regulations on gathering domestic and foreign information about terrorism and instructed the Customs control authority and border-gate customs agencies to strengthen the monitoring, control and prevention of import and export of terrorist-related goods, such as weapons, flammable substances, explosives, and publications provoking terrorism against the State. In particular, over the past years, Viet Nam has issued the following documents:

-          Official Letter No. 480/BTC-TCHQ dated 29 November 2010 on the coordinating mechanism to control goods and vehicles to and from Iran;

-          Official Letter No. 130/BTC-TCHQ dated 24 April 2011 on the coordinating mechanism to control goods and vehicles to and from Libya;

-          Official Letter No. 233/BCT-TCHQ dated 17 June 2011 on the coordinating mechanism to control goods and vehicles to and from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

              2.3. In practical terms, Viet Nam has strengthened control mechanisms along the borders, border gates over the exit and entry of people and goods with a view to detecting and preventing terrorist-related vehicles and suspected people from entering the Vietnamese territory while enhancing the key protection targets. These mechanisms include the followings:

- Viet Nam Interpol Office (under instructions of Ministry of Public Security) coordinates regularly with the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance to implement the ASEAN-EU Project on border gate control, detection of fake visa and stolen passports, which helps prevent the immigration and sabotaging activities of organizations and individuals involved with terrorism.

-          The Ministry of Defense of Viet Nam frequently instructs the Vietnamese Border Guard to increase check and control of the cross-border movement of people, vehicles and goods to prevent terrorists, terrorist suspects and terrorist inciters from entering Viet Nam, and at the same time, collaborates with the Police to carry out close, comprehensive and frequent control over the entire border-crossing areas, ports, densely-populated places, towns, districts and commune centers, remote and mountainous areas or places where many foreigners pass by, do business or reside.

-          The Ministry of Finance provides guidance to the border-gate Customs Control and Customs Departments on strict implementation of check and control operations. As a result, many cases of illicit cross-border trafficking of weapons, explosives, inflammables and publications instigating terrorism or sabotage have been detected and treated in accordance with the law. The Vietnamese Customs has installed the container scanning system at a number of ports (such as in Hai Phong city, Ho Chi Minh city) to detect weapons, radioactive substances; also conducted verification and route control of some vessels suspected of arms trafficking under the United Nations’ notice. In addition, Viet Nam has collaborated with the U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland Security to organize dozens of training courses on anti-terrorism, domestic and overseas export control for hundreds of customs officers; and engaged in active and frequent exchange of information on terrorist acts with the WCO’s Regional Intelligence Liaison Office in Asia and the Pacific (RILO A/P), World Customs Organization (WCO), Customs and Police forces of some regional and non-regional countries such as China, The United States, Japan, Australia, etc.

3. Cooperation with other countries to strengthen international border security with a view to preventing terror instigators from entering Viet Nam.

3.1 In terms of policy, Viet Nam stands ready to cooperate with other countries to prevent terrorist instigators from entering Viet Nam.

3.2 In terms of legal framework, Viet Nam issued the Law on Mutual Legal Assistance in 2007 to create a strong legal domestic basis to implement its international commitments on mutual legal assistance and extradition of criminals in general and terror-related criminals in particular.

3.3 On activities in practice, over the past years, the following activities have been conducted:

- Establishing mechanisms of information exchange and cooperation with Interpol, ASEANPOL, Security, Intelligence and Police agencies of other countries in order to timely detect and prevent terrorists’ attempts to enter Viet Nam to conduct terrorist acts or seek shelter.

- Enhancing cooperation with neighboring and shared-boundary countries; signing the Protocols and Agreements on Border Control with Laos, Cambodia and China. Most recently, in 2009, Viet Nam and China signed the Agreement on Land Border Control Regulations (to replace the 1991 Provisional Agreement on Settling Issues in the Border Areas between the two countries) and the Agreement on Border Gates and Land Border Gates Control Regulations. On the basis of the these international treaties, Vietnamese competent agencies have worked closely with relevant agencies of neighboring countries to enhance security at the border, combat terror-related activities such as illicit trafficking of weapons and explosives, financing of terrorism, production and use of fake travel documents and passports.

-    Establishing cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism with other countries, including the installation of “hot line” with the United States, Great Britain, France, Australia, etc. to ensure timely exchange of information on anti-terrorism activities.

-    Signing more than 20 bilateral agreements on mutual legal assistance and extradition with India, Great Britain, Russia, Germany, France, the Republic of Korea, etc; conducting negotiations and signing of extradition agreements with other countries such as Australia, Spain, China, Cambodia, etc.

-    Signing and ratifying the ASEAN Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters; studying to ratify the ASEAN Agreement on Extradition.

-    Participating in the negotiation, signing and ratifying the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism which sets out a number of rules on cooperation to prevent border infiltration by criminals among ASEAN countries, including the followings:

Article VI

-   

-    d. Prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups by effective border control and controls on issuance of identity papers and travel documents, and through measures for preventing counterfeiting, forgery or fraudulent use of identity papers and travel documents;

-    ...

g. Enhance cross-border cooperation;

h. Enhance intelligence exchange and sharing of information;”

                Question 3: Can you please describe some recent measures your Government has taken to enhance dialogue and broaden understanding among civilizations? For example, have there been workshops, consultations or other activities, including any carried out in cooperation with civil society actors, academic institutions, the private sector or other relevant non-government actors?

                Answer:

                1. In terms of policy, Viet Nam holds the views that strengthening dialogue and understanding among civilizations is one of the preconditions to promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation against threats to peace, stability and development in the region and the world, including terrorism.

                2. Such views have been realized by a number of activities in cultural and religious fields:

                2.1. In cultural field:

                Viet Nam supports international efforts aimed at enhancing dialogue and understanding among civilizations, protecting and promoting cultural diversity. In July 2007, Viet Nam ratified the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and became the 65th country ratifying, accepting, acceding and approving the Convention. Recently, during the 3rd session of the General Assembly on the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Viet Nam was officially elected as a member of the Intergovernmental Committee for Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, indicating the active role and stronger commitments of Viet Nam to the international efforts in respecting and promoting cultural diversity, preventing the discrimination among religions and cultures in the world.

                Viet Nam has taken the lead to organize a lot of international workshops with the participation of various stakeholders including regulators, cultural researchers, members of press, representatives of cultural institutions, arts associations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and artists. These workshops discussed the issues related to culture and cultural policies. Within the framework of the Viet Nam - Denmark project “Dialogue between cultural regulators and policy planners”, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has organized an annual workshop with the participation of policy makers, researchers from universities and institutions, representatives of arts associations, cultural and arts agencies, media, NGOs and independent artists since 2007. These workshops become a channel of dialogue among regulatory bodies, practitioners, representatives of civil society and artists… to talk about culture-related issues, including cultural diversity and freedom of expressions.

                Within the framework of international cooperation, in December 2008, Viet Nam and the EU co-organized the ASEM workshop on “Preservation and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions: Sharing Experiences of Asia and Europe”. This event was attended by more than 120 participants from ASEM countries, partners of ASEM and international organizations.

                2.2. In religious field

                The Government of Viet Nam (represented by the Government Committee for Religious Affairs) has worked with religious organizations to conduct festival activities, conferences on religious and ethnic affairs with a broad participation of scholars and representatives of private sector. The Committee has also sent delegations to attend regional and international conferences to strengthen understanding among civilizations, different cultural and religious traditions in order to build up the respect and tolerance for culture and religion, such as the annual ASEM and ASEAN interfaith dialogues. At these meetings, the delegates focused on various topics related to prevention of risks of conflict and terrorism, for instance “the role of religious organizations in dealing with conflicts”, “solutions to conflicts and building of peace”.    

Question 4: Can you please describe some recent measures your Government has taken to counter incitement of terrorist acts motivated by extremism and intolerance? For example, as in (3) above, have there been workshops, consultations or other activities, including any carried out in cooperation with civil society actors, academic institutions, the private sector or other relevant non-government actors?

Answer:

1. First of all, Viet Nam’s policy is to strictly punish any extremism-based or intolerant acts which incite terrorism, unrest and against the people’s administration.

2. In terms of legal framework, Article 87 of the 1999 Penal Code, as amended in 2009, stipulates that a sentence (between five years and  fifteen years in prison) shall be imposed to those who commit acts of sowing hatred, stigma and ethnic division, infringing upon the rights to equality among the community of Vietnamese ethnics; splitting up religious followers and non-religious people and triggering division between religious adherents and the people’s administration or social organizations; and undermining the implementation of policies for international solidarity.

3. As for concrete measures, with a view that prevention of and combating against terrorism are the tasks of all people, Viet Nam has implemented a number of measures, as follows: disseminating information,  and launching a people-based movement of protecting national security; developing a mechanism of close coordination among Ministries, agencies and localities to promptly address disputes, disagreements, religious and ethnic complaints, contributing to stability; formulating mechanisms of coordination between national and international institutions and gradually phasing out reasons and conditions of extremism and intolerance.

In terms of religion, since the Ordinance on Belief and Religion of Viet Nam was approved by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly on 18 June 2004, the Government Committee for Religious Affairs has conducted communication and training for the realization of the Ordinance, contributing to the establishment of religious tolerance and prevention of abusing religion to incite violence. The third international conference on “Religion and Rule of Law” was held in Viet Nam, drawing participation of a number of religious and legal scholars, dignitaries to share information in the process of making legal documents related to religion and preventing religious intolerance in social life.

                Question 5: Can you please describe some recent measures your Government has taken to prevent the subversion of educational, cultural, and religious institutions by terrorists and their supporters?  In this respect, for example, would your Government be able to share any regulations, guidelines or “good practices” in this area?

                Answer:

                1. Viet Nam's policy is to bring to justice any criminal acts undermining the policy of national unity and technical infrastructure, including educational, cultural and religious facilities.

                2. In terms of legal framework, it is provided  in Article 87 “Crime of undermining the policy of national unity”, Article 85 “Crime of sabotaging the material-technical foundations of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam” and Article 143 “Crime of destroying or deliberately damaging property” of the 1999 Penal Code, as amended in 2009 that criminal acts undermining the policy of national unity and technical infrastructure, including educational, cultural and religious facilities will be brought to justice.

                3. In practical terms, Viet Nam has invested in socio-economic development and infrastructure, gradually improved living standards, both the material and spiritual lives of the people; actively promoted communication, education on religious and ethnic policy of the Government of Viet Nam; strengthened communication and dissemination of legal information for the upland, remote and disadvantaged areas to raise awareness of the people; developed a mechanism for close collaboration between ministries, agencies and localities of Viet Nam in settling religious and ethnic disputes, conflicts, complaints to root out the causes and conditions triggering extremism, terrorism and prevent terrorists and their supporters from badly affecting educational, cultural and religious facilities.

                Question 6: What has been the impact of the above-described measures?

                Answer:

                1. The above-described measures have contributed to limiting, eliminating the conditions that terrorists can exploit to incite terrorist acts in Viet Nam; helping Viet Nam avoid being turned into a haven for terrorists, preventing terrorists and their supporters from affecting the country’s educational, cultural and religious facilities; fighting against extremism and the abuse of extremism to provoke terrorism.

                2. The implementation of these measures have contributed to strengthening and expanding international cooperation, both bilaterally and multilaterally on prevention of and combat with terrorism and to the implementation of the Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, the international treaties on prevention of and combat with terrorism that Viet Nam signed and acceded to.

                3. These measures have effectively contributed to maintaining political stability, social order and safety in Viet Nam, and thereby contributing to preventing terrorism in the region and the world.

Question 7: Does your Government assess that there any particular difficulties involved in implementing resolution 1624 (2005) and, if so, how might they effectively be addressed?

Answer:

1.       Viet Nam frequently holds workshops on preventing and countering international terrorism. Recently, the Workshop on Legal Framework for Preventing and Combating Terrorism was held on 25 March 2010 in Ha Noi with the support of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). This workshop was chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with relevant ministries and agencies. Other inter-agency meetings and consultations with international specialized agencies have also been carried out regularly. These activities have enabled Viet Nam to review the results, advantages and disadvantages encountered during the implementation of United Nations Security Council’s Resolutions on counter-terrorism in general and Resolution 1624 in particular.

2.       To better meet the demand for counter-terrorism in the current context and better fulfill international counter-terrorism duties, Viet Nam has identified challenges, difficulties and tasks, namely: further improve the legal basis for counter-terrorism, strengthen the effectiveness of the coordination mechanism among agencies, sectors and localities in counter-terrorism; strengthen capacity building for professional staff.

3.       In particular, in order to create a full, comprehensive and uniform legal basis for counter-terrorism, Viet Nam is in the process of drafting a comprehensive Law on Counter-terrorism. Once it is formulated and promulgated, this law will be a highly effective legal normative document for Viet Nam to better carry out its counter-terrorism activities, ensure national security, maintain social safety and order, promote international cooperation in preventing and combating this kind of crime.

Question 8: Can you please describe some measures your Government has taken to ensure that any measures taken to implement resolution 1624 (2005) comply with all of its obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, refugee law, and humanitarian law?

Answer:

1.       As part of our policy, Viet Nam affirms its respect for and protection of human rights and spares no efforts to ensure the realization of human rights in reality by making laws and incessantly improving the legal system, implementing concrete measures in all fields, acceding to the international legal framework and fulfilling the international duties as enshrined in international human rights and humanitarian treaties to which Viet Nam is a party. Vietnamese laws set out comprehensive sets of rules on protection of human rights. The 1992 Constitution, the document with the highest legal validity, assures that all citizens are equal in respect of politics, economics, culture, society, and equal before the law; also protect the right to freedom of belief and religion; the right to free movement and residence in the territory of Viet Nam; the right to complaints and petitions…regardless of their sex, ethnic origin, belief, religion. The provisions on protection of human rights and specific protection measures are stipulated in many legal documents, including the Penal Code 1999 and Penal Procedure Code…Viet Nam has been parties to many important human rights treaties and has seriously carried out its obligations under these treaties.

2.       Human rights are fully respected in acts of preventing and combating terrorism in Viet Nam. In terms of legal framework, the Penal Code clearly provides that all offenders are equal before the law regardless of their sex, ethnic origin, belief, religion, social class and status (Article 3). Likewise, the Criminal Proceedings also stipulates the respect for and protection of fundamental rights of citizens (Article 4), guarantee of equality of all citizens before the law (Article 5), assurance of protection of citizens’ rights to physical inviolability (Article 6), the rights to life, health, honor, dignity and property of citizens (Article 7), inviolability of residence, safety and secrecy of correspondence, phone call and telegram of citizens (Article 8), right to presumption of innocence (Article 9), right to defense of temporary detainees, internees and defendants.

3.       The Government’s Steering Committee on Human Rights is making necessary preparation to translate into reality the initiative to establish a National Human Rights Institution to ensure citizens’ rights, whilst fight against hostile elements who have bad influence on the social life, culture and religion.

 

CONCLUSION

Viet Nam shares the international community’s concerns that incitement of terrorist acts poses a serious threat to global stability and prosperity and the need to take all necessary and appropriate measures to combat the incitement of terrorist acts. The laws, amended and supplemented as above mentioned, have created the legal basis for Vietnamese competent agencies to prohibit and prevent the incitement of terrorist acts, to exclude itself from being a haven for terrorists. Besides, the international treaties that Viet Nam signed with other countries have laid a foundation for Viet Nam to collaborate and strengthen border security to prevent terrorist-acts inciters from entering Viet Nam’s territory. Viet Nam has also implemented many measures to enhance dialogues among civilizations and prevent terrorists and its supporters from adversely affecting educational, cultural and religious institutions. These measures help restrain and eliminate the conditions that terrorists might take advantage of to carry out their acts in the territory of Viet Nam and at the same time help expand international cooperation, bilaterally and multilaterally, in preventing and combating terrorism. In the future, Viet Nam will draft the Law on Counter-terrorism to create a better legal framework in preventing and combating terrorism in general and the incitement of terrorist acts in particular.

 



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