Practice Relating to Rule 158. Prosecution of War Crimes
Viet Nam’s Penal Code (1990) provides for the punishment of anyone who commits, inter alia
, one of the offences listed under the following headings: “Violation of policy concerning soldiers killed or wounded in combat” (Article 271); “Theft or destruction of war booty” (Article 272); “Harassment of civilians” (Article 273); “Exceeding military need in performance of a mission” (Article 274); “Mistreatment of a prisoner of war or of a soldier who has surrendered” (Article 275); “Crimes against humanity” committed in time of peace or in time of war (Article 278); “War crimes”, such as “acts seriously breaching international norms contained in the treaties to which Vietnam is a party” (Article 279); and “Recruitment of mercenaries and service as a mercenary” (Article 280).
Viet Nam’s Penal Code (1999) provides for the punishment of anyone who commits, inter alia
, one of the offences listed under the following headings: “Concealing offences [including war crimes]” (Article 313); “Failing to denounce crimes [including war crimes] (Article 314); “Violating policies towards war wounded and/or war dead during combat” (Article 336); “Appropriating or destroying war trophies” (Article 337); “Harassing civilians” (Article 338); “Abusing military demands while performing duties” (Article 339); “Ill-treating prisoners of war and/or enemy deserters” (Article 340); “Crimes against humanity” committed in time of peace or in time of war (Article 342); “War crimes”, such as “acts in serious violation of international laws or international treaties which Viet Nam has signed or acceded to” (Article 343); and “Recruiting mercenaries or working as mercenaries” (Article 344).
In 2008, during a debate in the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the representative of Viet Nam stated: “It is States that bear primary responsibility … to deal with … violations of international humanitarian law.”