Independence - Freedom – Happiness

No: 15/1999/QH10

Hanoi, December 21, 1999



(NO. 15/1999/QH10)


Criminal law constitutes one of the sharp and effective instruments to prevent and combat crime, actively contributing to the defense of independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the socialist Vietnamese Fatherland, the protection of the interests of the State as well as the legitimate rights and interests of citizens and organizations. It also contributes to the maintenance of social order and security and economic management order and provides security for all people to live in a safe, healthy and highly humane social and ecological environment. At the same time the criminal law actively contributes to doing away with elements which obstruct the process of renewal and national industrialization and modernization for a prosperous people, a strong country and an equitable and civilized society.

This Penal Code has been made on the basis of inheriting and promoting the principles and institutions of Vietnams criminal legislation, particularly the 1985 Penal Code, as well as experiences drawn from the reality of the struggle to prevent and combat crimes over many decades of the process of national construction and defense.

The Penal Code demonstrates the spirit of active prevention and resolute combat against crimes through penalties in order to deter, educate, convert and reform offenders into honest people; thereby to imbue every citizen with the spirit and sense of being masters of the society, the sense of law observance and active participation in crime prevention and combat.

To strictly implement the Penal Code is the common task of all agencies, organizations and the entire population.


Chapter I


Article 1.- The tasks of the Penal Code

The Penal Code has the tasks of protecting the socialist regime, the peoples mastership, equality among people of various nationalities, the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of citizens and organizations, protecting the socialist law order, opposing all acts of criminal offense; at the same time educating people in the sense of law observance and struggle to prevent and combat crime.

In order to carry out such tasks, the Penal Code defines crimes and the penalties for offenders.

Article 2.- Basis of penal liabilities

Only those persons who have committed crimes defined by the Penal Code shall bear the penal liabilities therefor.



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Article 344.- Recruiting mercenaries or working as mercenaries

1. Those who recruit, train or use mercenaries to oppose a friendly country of Vietnam or a national liberation movement shall be sentenced to between ten years and twenty years of imprisonment or life imprisonment.

2. Those who work as mercenaries shall be sentenced to between five years and fifteen years of imprisonment.

This Code was passed by the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Xth Legislature, at its 6th session on December 21, 1999.





Nong Duc Manh