06/08/2022 09:22

Vietnam: What is pardon? Criteria to distinguish amnesty and pardon.

Vietnam: What is pardon? Criteria to distinguish amnesty and pardon.

“On major national holidays in Vietnam, I often hear the phrases amnesty, pardon for prisoners. Therefore I would like to know the differences between amnesty and pardon.”_ Hong Anh (Can Tho)

What is a pardon?

According to the provisions of Clause 1, Article 3 of the Law on Pardon 2018, special amnesty is a special leniency of the State because the President decides to release prisoners ahead of time for those convicted of definite prison sentences or imprisonment for family members. important events, major national holidays, or in special cases,

What is an amnesty?

Currently, the concept of amnesty is not specified in any legal documents. However, according to the Vietnamese online dictionary, the Wikipedia website, and the practice of pardons in 1946 and 1976, it can be understood that a pardon is a form of complete forgiveness for certain crimes committed by a series of offenders (regardless of whether they have served their punishment, or have been prosecuted, tried or not) during a particularly important event in the political life of a country.

Criteria to distinguish amnesty and pardon





The leniency of the State in order to completely forgive individuals or group of individuals who have been found guilty of some act in political situations to address certain issues of national importance

The special leniency of the state because the President of the State decides to release a prisoner before the time limit for a person who is sentenced to a definite term of imprisonment, life imprisonment, on important events, major national holidays, or in special cases.

Nature Forgive and exempt from punishment certain types of crimes or a series of offenders who have or have not been prosecuted, tried, or executed.

Early release from prison for certain people who are serving their punishments, in case they have a good sense of reform, make merit, are too old and weak, suffer from a serious illness...


Offenders are in any stage, from prosecution, trial to execution.

Offenders are in the execution phase of prison sentences (term imprisonment, life imprisonment).

Scope of application

Applied on a large scale, with a series of offenses and a series of offenders under certain conditions.

For example, the Inter-Ministry of Home Affairs-Public Security-Justice Circular No. 80-TT/LB dated December 6, 1958, provides:

Those who committed crimes and were sanctioned before October 9, 1954, were all granted amnesty and restored to public authority. In particular, the following types of prisoners who are not allowed to be pardoned are: wicked landowners, those who have a lot of blood debt to the people, and thugs who have not really been reformed.

The scope of application is narrower than amnesty, specified in Articles 11, 12, and 22 of the Law on Pardon 2018.

Applies to specific offenders. Based on the actual situation, the President sets standards for each amnesty. Thus, the person serving a prison sentence shall make an application to be considered for a pardon, or the concerned agency or organization shall request to make a specific list and submit it to the President for decision.

Competence of Decision

National Assembly (Clause 11 Article 70 of the Constitution 2013)

President (Clause 3, Article 88 of the Constitution 2013)

Legal basis

Usually introduced in the National Assembly session and unanimously approved by the delegates.

Persons who request special amnesty must satisfy the conditions specified in Article 11 of the Law on Pardon 2018 and submit an application for special amnesty to the President.

Legal consequences

The person receiving the amnesty becomes a person without guilt. And there is no criminal record in his criminal record.

Persons granted pardon are exempted from serving the remaining penalties but are not entitled to immediate criminal record remission like those who are granted amnesty and still have previous criminal records in their judicial records.


Nguyen Sang

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