Practice Relating to Rule 52. Pillage
Viet Nam’s Penal Code (1990) punishes “anyone who, during combat or while cleaning up a battlefield, steals or destroys war booty”. It also punishes “anyone who, in time of war, … has pillaged property”.
Viet Nam’s Penal Code (1999) provides for the punishment of those “who, while in combat or clearing the battlefields, appropriate or destroy war booty”. It also punishes those “who, in time of war, give the order for or directly undertake … the looting of property”.
Viet Nam’s Criminal Code (2015) states:
INFRINGEMENTS UPON DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF SERVICEMEN AND COOPERATORS WITH THE ARMY IN WARTIME
Article 392. People having criminal responsibility for infringement upon duties and responsibilities of servicemen
1. Servicemen, military workers and employees.
2. Reserve servicemen during training period.
3. Militia members [cooperating] with the army in wartime.
4. Citizens recruited to the army.
Article 419. Appropriation or destruction of war trophies
1. Any person who appropriates or destroys war trophies in battle or during battlefield clean-up shall face a penalty of up to 03 years’ community [service] or 06–60 months’ imprisonment.
2. This offence committed in any of the following cases shall carry a penalty of 03–07 years’ imprisonment:
a) The offender is a commander or commissioned officer;
b) The war trophies are [valued] at from VND 100,000,000 to under VND 500,000,000;
c) The offence had a negative impact on the army’s reputation;
d) The war trophies have military value;
dd) The offence results in serious consequences or very serious consequences.
3. This offence committed in any of the following cases shall carry a penalty of 05–10 years’ imprisonment:
a) The war trophies are [valued] at ≥ VND 500,000,000;
b) The war trophies have special military value;
c) The offence results in extremely serious consequences.
DISRUPTION OF PEACE, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, AND WAR CRIMES
Article 423. War crimes
1. Any person in wartime who orders or directly commits the murder of civilians, wounded people, or prisoner[s] of war; pillages; destroys residential areas; uses banned war instruments or methods[;] or commits other acts that seriously violate international law or an international agreement to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a signatory shall face a penalty of 10–20 years’ imprisonment, life imprisonment, or death
2. [If t]his offence is committed under pressure or order[s] given by superior officers, the offender shall face a penalty of 10–20 years’ imprisonment.