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National Assembly Remains In Favour Of Death Penalty

Source: Vientiane Times

National Assembly members have spoken out in favour of retaining the death penalty and want this punishment to be meted out to people who have committed serious crimes.

Members wanted the death penalty to be handed down to people who have committed brutal acts of murder or possessed large quantities of drugs, voicing their support when debating the draft of the Criminal Code at the ongoing NA session, which will end this afternoon.

The Ministry of Justice introduced the draft for members’ consideration and approval on Tuesday afternoon, with debate continuing throughout yesterday.

The drafting sub-committee previously introduced a draft of the Criminal Code for debate at the previous Assembly session last November, when many NA members also voiced their support for keeping the death penalty.

During the current session, NA members pointed out that practices and behaviours that had caused serious harm to the State as well as to individuals’ property and lives had been more frequent.
This included murder and environmentally harmful practices and assaults, among other crimes.

The most concerning situation for which Assembly members wanted the death penalty retained was that of drug trafficking, which they said not only brought harm to families but also threatened national security.

In speaking with media representatives on the sidelines of the session yesterday, an official from the NA’s Committee on Justice reminded the public of the thousands of children who were succumbing to drug addiction, some of whom he said were in treatment centres while others were in jail.

“Most of the children who fall victim to drugs are under 18 years old. This is a dismal picture,” he said.

An Assembly member for Xekong province spoke about a cruel incident that had occurred in his province when a driver who had caused a traffic accident drove back to the scene to kill his victim in order to disguise his involvement.

The Ministry of Justice says it has enhanced the Criminal Code by updating the existing penal law in the hope that it will be a better guide for criminal lawsuits in the future.

The draft introduced for debate at previous sessions had 420 articles while the draft introduced this week has been narrowed down to 416 articles.

Other topics at this week’s debate included genocide, terrorism, military offences, and the interval of fines.

Money laundering was also tabled for discussion by NA members, who expressed their concerns about the country’s status as a money laundering destination, suggesting the code be strengthened so that offenders received harsher penalties.

Furthermore, some NA members wanted penalties to be levelled against government officials who misreported financial information for personal gain, saying this would eventually harm the government’s entire planning system.