07/10/2022 11:37

What is the penalty for the act of infringing upon human bodies, graves or remains according to Vietnamese law?

What is the penalty for the act of infringing upon human bodies, graves or remains according to Vietnamese law?

I have often heard of cases of grave digging, exhuming dead bodies to steal belongings and property. I want to know that how will such behavior be handled. (Phu Quy - Binh Phuoc)

Hello Mr. Quy, LawNet would like to give answer for your question as following: 

In Vietnam, graves and bodies of the deceased are also protected by law because they represent the customs, consuetudes and traditions of the Vietnamese ethnic. Therefore, the law absolutely has sanctions for acts of intentionally infringing upon bodies and graves.

Pursuant to Article 319 of the Criminal Code 2015 of Vietnam, infringement upon human bodies, graves or remains are prescribed as following: 

"1. Any person who commits grave robbery or otherwise infringes upon a dead body, grave or human remains shall face a penalty of up to 02 years' community sentence or 03 - 24 months' imprisonment.

2. This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a penalty of 02 - 07 years' imprisonment:

a) The offence has a negative impact on social security, order or safety;

b) The offence involves appropriation or destruction of historically or culturally valuable items;

c) The offender is committed by despicable motives;

d) The offence is for the purpose of taking part of the body or remains."

Crime analysis:

Infringement upon human bodies, graves or remains is defined as acts of digging, breaking graves, appropriating objects to be kept in graves or committing other acts of infringing upon bodies or graves, remains.

- Subject: person from 16 years of age and above and has criminal capacityaccording to Clause 1 Article 12 of the Criminal Code 2015.

- Object: this crime infringes on the order and safety of the dead body, grave and remains; thereby infringing upon the customs, consuetudes and traditions of the Vietnamese ethnic.

- Subjective side: offenders with intentional fault, which can come from different motives and purposes such as self-interest, personal revenge, superstition...

Objective side: the offender commits one of the following acts:

+ Digging, destroying graves: destroying or damaging graves, making tombs not intact as before.

+ Appropriating objects in the grave, on the grave.

+ Other acts of infringing upon bodies, graves or remains

Thus, anyone who commits an act of infringing upon the body, grave or remains will be examined for penal liability with 02 penalty frames:

- Frame 1: up to 02 years' community sentence or 03 - 24 months' imprisonment for the following acts: digging, breaking graves, appropriating objects to stay in or on graves or committing acts of others infringing upon bodies, graves and remains.

- Frame 2: 02 - 07 years' imprisonment in one of the following cases:

The offence has a negative impact on social security, order or safety;

+ The offence involves appropriation or destruction of historically or culturally valuable items;

+ The offender is committed by despicable motives;

+ The offence is for the purpose of taking part of the body or remains

In addition to being examined for penal liability, violators must also pay compensation for damage in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code 2015, specifically:

- Compensation for damage caused by infringement of corpses (Article 606 of the Civil Code 2015):

Each natural person or juridical causing damage to a corpse must compensate.

Damage caused by infringement of a corpse shall include reasonable costs for mitigating and remedying the damage.

A person causing damage to a corpse must pay an amount of money for mitigating and remedying the damage together with another amount of money as compensation for mental suffering of the closest relatives in the first line of succession to the deceased. If there are no such relatives, this sum shall be paid to the persons who directly reared the deceased. The amount of compensation for mental suffering shall be as agreed by the parties; if the parties are not able to agree, the maximum sum shall not exceed thirty-month base salary prescribed by the State.

- Compensation for damage caused by infringement of graves (Article 607 of the Civil Code 2015):

Each natural person or juridical person causing damage to the grave of another must compensate.

Damage caused by infringement of a grave shall include reasonable costs for mitigating and remedying the damage.

A person causing damage to a grave must pay an amount of money for mitigating and remedying the damage together with another amount of money as compensation for mental suffering of the closest relatives in the first line of succession to the deceased. If there are no such relatives, this sum shall be paid to the persons who directly reared the deceased. The amount of compensation for mental suffering shall be as agreed by the parties; if the parties are not able to agree, the maximum sum for each damaged grave shall not exceed ten-month base salary prescribed by the State.

In conclusion, any person who infringes upon a dead body, grave or human remains will be prosecuted for penal liability with the highest penalty of up to 07 years in prison, depending on the level of danger of the act. In addition, the offender must also pay compensation for damage, including reasonable costs for mitigating and remedying, and compensate for mental suffering to the relatives of the deceased in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code 2015.

>> CLICK HERE TO READ THIS ARTICLE IN VIETNAMESE

Phuong Uyen
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