Circular 46

Blue Dragon’s frontline work with victims of human trafficking and child abuse has led to another reform to Vietnam’s legal system.

Officially launched this week, a circular issued by the Ministry of Public Security on October 10, 2019 has closed a legal loophole by giving victims of crime the right to have a lawyer.

Until this reform, procedures regarding victims’ access to legal representation were unclear and unregulated. This meant that the victim of a crime – such as human trafficking – was not always able to appoint a lawyer to help them report to police and represent them in court.

The accused, however, did have a clear right to legal representation.

Blue Dragon’s legal team could see that it needed to be fixed. Following our rescues of children and women trafficked and enslaved, we need to be able to represent them to ensure justice is done and their abusers properly sentenced.

And so we initiated a process of dialogue, research, and legal review with the Vietnamese government. Bringing together officials, lawyers, and police from around the country into formal discussions in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, we gathered feedback and advice, and worked with the Ministry of Public Security to develop and issue what is now known as Circular 46.

Ultimately Vietnam’s Criminal Procedure Code will need to be revised but for now Circular 46 addresses this one shortfall, and highlights the needs and rights of victims of crimes for all in the justice system to see.

Now any person in Vietnam who finds themselves the victim of a crime is assured of the right to appoint a legal representative to defend them.

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