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11 Ariz. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 145 (1994)
Vietnamese Re-Education Camps: Do They Violate Both Traditional and Modern Vietnamese Criminal Law

handle is hein.journals/ajicl11 and id is 155 raw text is: VIETNAMESE RE-EDUCATION CAMPS: DO THEY VIOLATE
Viet V. Le
The Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) fell into the hands of the
communist North Vietnamese Army on April 30, 1975, when General Duong
Van Minh, then President of South Vietnam, offered an unconditional surrender.
Since 1975, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese associated with the old regime
have been detained in re-education camps for extended periods of time.1 Even
though the detainees were neither formally accused of committing any crimes nor
adjudicated criminals, they lost their freedom, citizenship rights, and basic human
rights. They endured penal confinement in unsanitary environments and lived
without necessities like food, clothing and medicine.2 The detainees who were
released from the re-education camps, along with their families, endured
discrimination in the work force, the educational system, the political system,
and in their social status.
In its past and present forms, Vietnamese law has historically provided
protection from arbitrary arrest and detention, from punishment for an offense not
defined by law, and from cruel and inhumane treatment or punishment. However,
the re-education detention program continues to be managed in disregard of these
fundamental rights. Instead of progressing towards less governmental control and
greater respect for individual rights, the Vietnamese government has created an
environment more restrictive than that of ancient Vietnam during the La
This Comment sets forth the history of Vietnam and analyzes some of the
fundamental rights afforded to the people of Vietnam under the traditional
Vietnamese laws, specifically the laws under the L6 Dynasty.4 These
fundamental rights are then evaluated under modem Vietnamese law to determine
if they survived the passage of time and the political turmoil during recent years.
1. Stephen B. Young, The Legality of Vietnamese Re-education Camps, 20 Harv.
Int'l L.J. 519, 519-20 (1979). The lengths of incarceration range from several
months to more than ten years. Telephone Interview with Tran Quang Thang, former
re-education camp detainee (Nov. 24, 1992).
2. See infra notes 248-291 and accompanying text.
3. See infra note 27.
4. See infra notes 27, 28 and accompanying text.

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