Appendix B


1. To combat communist subversion and insurgency, successive governments of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) have promulgated emergency enactments setting forth offenses against the national security. The extremely difficult political and military situation has afforded a poor environment for law-making, so that the resulting collection of Decrees and Decree Laws does not form a harmonious and comprehensive whole. Copies of English translations of the laws, decrees, and related publications mentioned herein are available in the office of the Staff Judge Advocate, U. S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.

2. The new constitution, promulgated 1 April 1967, provides in Article 4:

a. The Republic of Vietnam opposes Communism in any form.

b. Every activity designed to publicize or carry out Communism is prohibited.

The public policy is thus clear, it being left for specific enactments to define offenses and provide punishment therefor.

3. Under the new Constitution, the authority of the Executive to issue decrees is very limited. Legislative authority is vested in the National Assembly. However, for the purposes of this study, it will be assumed that the existing executive decrees in the field of national security will continue in force until repealed, superseded or nullified by legislative, executive or judicial act.

4. For purposes of convenience, offenses have been separated into two main groups, each using the same terminology employed in the decrees. However, it should be understood that the legal terms used are not synonymous with those defined and employed in Western law books or dictionaries.

Offenses Punishable by Imprisonment for More Than Five Years or by Death

Under this heading are crimes in the nature of treason, sedition, espionage, and sabotage. Acts of insurgency, revolt, or terrorism, and acts directed against defense or government facilities, are prohibited as set


forth below. A brief description of some of these offenses, with references to the appropriate law or decree, follows:

Ordinance 47 of 21 August 1956

a. Bear arms against the RVN. Art. 4 (1)
b. Solicit or aid aggression against the RVN, by a foreign nation or a communist organization. Art. 1 & 4 (2)
c. Help the personnel of a foreign nation or a communist organization to illegally enter or live on Vietnamese territory, or help them communicate with each other or move out of Vietnamese territory. Art. 1 (5) & 4 (2)
d. Give or attempt to give classified defense information to a foreign nation or a communist organization. Art. 2 (1) & 4 (2)
e. Sabotage defense ordnance. Art. 2 (3) & 4 (2)
f. Undermine public or military morale. Art. 2 (4) & 4 (2)
g. Obtain information on defense facilities, by subterfuge or with out authorization. Art. 3 & 4 (2)
h. Carry on communications prejudicial to national defense. Art. 3 (2) & 4 (2)
i. Solicit others, or agree to do, any of the above acts. Art. 5
j. Recruit troops for a foreign nation or personnel for a communist organization. Art. 7 (3)
k. Knowingly communicate or maintain relations with the personnel of a communist organization or the citizens or agents of an enemy nation in time or war. Art. 7 (4)
1. Knowingly carry on commercial transactions, whether directly or through others, with the personnel of a communist organization or the citizens or agents of an enemy nation in time of war. Art. 7 (5)
m. Prejudice the territorial integrity of the country or cause the RVN to lose control over any part of her territory. Art. 8 (l)
n. Conspire with foreign agents with intent to prejudice the military or diplomatic situation of the RVN. Art. 8 (2)
o. Unauthorized entry into restricted areas around defense installations. Art. 8 (6)
p. Aiders and abettors are defined (Art. 9) and are liable to the same punishment as those who actually commit the crime. (Art. 59, Penal Code of South Vietnam).
q. Failure to inform the authorities of prohibited activities is punishable. Art. 10

Law No. 10/59 of 6 May 1959

r. Listed acts of sabotage or terrorism, or attempts thereat, committed with specified intent are punishable. Art. 1 & 2
s. Adhere to an organization as a member, or conspire with others, so as to aid in the planning or commission of the foregoing offenses. Art. 3

Decree-Law No. 18/64 of 7 August 1964

t. Terrorists, saboteurs, and speculators who injure the nation's economy, apprehended en flagrant délit, will be sentenced to death. Art. 5


Decree-Law No. 004/65 of 19 July 1965

u. Any person who joins a communist organization or conspires with the communists, to bear arms against the RVN, shall be sentenced to death and total or partial confiscation of his property. Art. 14
v. A person who rebels (against the RVN), or recruits troops and furnishes them with weapons and ammunition, without order or authorization from the Government, shall be sentenced to death. Art. 15
w. Inciting a mob, in order to disturb the security of the State. Art. 16
x. Disseminating communist propaganda or directives; attempting to undermine the anti-communist spirit of the country or to prejudice the struggle of the people and the Armed Forces; plotting to act under guise of peace or neutralism in accordance with communist doctrine. Art. 17

Decree-Law No. 004/66 of 15 February 1966

y. Hooliganism: Carrying illegal weapons without justified reason and with intent to commit other offenses; forging or using forged permits. Art. 20
Those persons who gather in assemblage of two or more and attack, resist or obstruct the public forces in their duties shall be put to death. The killing of such offenders in self defense shall be excused. Art. 22

Offenses Punishable by Imprisonment for Five Years or Less*

Decree-Law No. 93/SL/CT of 1 February 1964

z. Acts in furtherance of Communism or pro-Communist Neutralism. Art. 1 & 2

Law No. 004/65 of 17 May 1965

aa. Communist propaganda and political activity: substantially the same prohibited activities as in subparagraph "x" above.
(In general, activity described under "aa" and "z" may be charged under "x", which is a subsequent enactment providing heavier sentences during the State of War, declared 24 June 1965.)

Draft Evasion and Desertion

bb. Draft evaders and their accomplices are subject to sentences of confinement at hard labor. Art. 10-13, Decree-Law 4/65 of 19 July 1965;
Art. 11, Decree-Law 4/66 of 15 Feb. 1966
cc. Deserters and their accomplices are subject to sentence of confinement at hard labor or to death, depending on the circumstances of desertion. Their sentence is to be served in military field labor battalions. Art. 1-3, Decree-Law No. 0 15/66 of 21 April 1966

*These offenses are usually characterized in charges and indictments as "endangering the national security" or "jeopardizing the national security." See Article 91, Penal Code of South Vietnam.

page updated 31 May 2001

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