The child justice legal framework and situation of minors in conflict with the law in Viet Nam
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which was ratified by Viet Nam in 1990, requires State Parties to promote the establishment of laws, procedures, authorities, and institutions specifically applicable to children in conflict with the law. The system must ensure that the treatment of the child is based on respect for his or her dignity and self-esteem, suitable for each child’s age and maturity, and facilitate their successful community reintegration.
The establishment of such a system requires State Parties to continuously review their legal and policy system on child justice, the current situation of MICWL prevention, handling, rehabilitation, and community reintegration, identify compatibilities and incompatibilities with the CRC, and other international standards on child justice.
With support from UNICEF, in 2005 the Report on the Situation Analysis of Child Justice in Viet Nam and Evaluation of the Contemporary Child Justice System was developed and published by the Legal Research Institute, MOJ (hereinafter, 2005 Child Justice SITAN). Analysing the minor offender situation for the period of 2000-2005 and legal and policy system on child justice, the report offers effective recommendations for law and policy reform and implementation within the field. Until now, this is the only report that provides a comprehensive analysis of the situation of MICWL and related laws and policies. Other studies only focus on specific thematic issues in prevention and handling of MICWL (see Appendix III).
Nearly 15 years after the report’s delivery, Viet Nam has undertaken remarkable efforts to improve protection, care, and education of minors. The hard work has given rise to several outstanding achievements, including the improved MICWL situation. Annual reports reveal a downward trend in the number of cases and MICWL in recent years. Nonetheless, media and several forums continue to raise concerns that the number of offences committed by minors, young offenders tend to be younger, cases where minors’ gathering and causing public disorder has increased in both quantity and level severity in several localities, especially those of a particularly serious nature.