Monday, July 12, 2021, 10:27 (GMT+7)
The Military steps up international cooperation in law

International cooperation in law is an important part of defence diplomacy and cooperation in the era of international integration, aimed at raising the quality of law enactment and enforcement within the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA), strengthening its discipline, and bettering its synergy and combat strength as the basis for its successful fulfilment of all assigned missions.

To improve the quality and effectiveness of law enactment and enforcement and the building of a socialist rule-of-law State for social management by law in the context of globalisation and international integration, over the years, our Party and State have issued many documents and directives on international cooperation in law. Typical examples include the Directive 39-CT/TW, dated December 12th, 2009 by the 10th Party Central Committee’s Secretariat on international cooperation in law, administrative reform, and judicial reform, the Government’s Decree 113/2014/NĐ-CP, dated November 26th, 2014 on managing international cooperation in law, and the Conclusion 73-KL/TW by the 12th Party Central Committee’s Secretariat on continuing to implement the Directive 39-CT/TW. The Military has grasped and realised those documents via various measures in accordance with its task, the Constitution, the State’s law, and the Party’s guidelines on defence diplomacy and cooperation, thereby achieving good results and contributing to enhancing the quality of law enactment and enforcement, strengthening its discipline, and raising its synergy and combat power.

Delegates at the Second Coast Guard Global Summit (photo: VNA)

It is worth noting that the responsibility of cadres in charge of legal affairs across the VPA for international cooperation in law has been heightened. Significance has been attached to designing plans, projects and programmes of law cooperation in accordance with the State’s regulations, the VPA’s function, task, and authority, other countries’ law, and international law. The VPA has advised our Party and State to sign and realise many documents, agreements, and projects on managing border and border gates as well as preventing and combating crime with our neighbours. International cooperation in law has been encouraged via delegation exchange programmes, training courses on law and foreign languages, and conferences and forums on law aimed at sharing information and experience in designing and executing legal documents in the military-defence field. It has proactively conducted surveys on developed countries’ law enactment and enforcement to serve the development of law projects and laws, such as the National Defence Law, the Military Service Law, the Law on the Vietnam Coast Guard, and the Vietnam Border Guard Law as well as to sign the Memorandum of Understanding on law cooperation in the military-defence sphere between the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence (MND) and the Cambodian Ministry of National Defence. It has also closely, strictly maintained supervision and assessment of international cooperation in law. As a result, it has attracted external resources to modernise the VPA and increase defence strength, the country’s defensive capacity, and the Military’s law enactment, adjustment and enforcement.

However, a part from those good results, the quality of international cooperation in law has not been good enough. Experience gained from other countries’ law enactment and enforcement has been limited. Several agreements have been implemented slowly or ineffectively. The work of reviewing practice and developing theory in this field has yet to be carried out systematically. Legal normative documents have yet to sufficiently, opportunely meet the requirements of international integration. Cadres’ knowledge and experience in international cooperation have yet to be great enough.

To deal with those above-mentioned weaknesses and execute the Party’s guidelines on “continuing renewing international cooperation in law proactively, actively and making use of international law and practices so as to achieve a qualitative change in law international cooperation,” for the Homeland construction and protection in the new situation, it is necessary to focus on a number of measures as follows.

First, raise the responsibility of party committees, commands, and cadres in charge of legal affairs across the VPA for international cooperation in law. This is a new, difficult task. Therefore, relevant offices and units, particularly the MND’s Department of Legal Affairs and competent offices shall fully understand the importance, necessity, and inevitability of international cooperation in law in the context of military international integration and cooperation. Due attention should be paid to grasping and disseminating resolutions, directives, and documents by the Party, the State, the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the Ministry of National Defence on international cooperation in law, especially the Decision 1624/QĐ-BQP, dated June 2nd, 2021 by the Minister of National Defence issuing the Action Plan for the Prime Minister’s Decision 84/QĐ-TTg, dated September 22nd, 2020 on executing the Conclusion 73-KL/TW  and the Directive 39-CT/TW. Besides, it is essential to grasp the requirements, goals, contents, tasks, central measures of the VPA’s plans, projects, and programmes on international cooperation in law, fully understand the characteristics, culture, and law development of each partner, and identify advantages, difficulties, and both negative and positive impacts during the cooperation process as the basis for the effectiveness implementation in each year and period.

Second, supplement and perfect legal mechanisms, policies, and institutions for international cooperation in law. Currently, the system of legal mechanisms, policies, and institutions in this field has yet to be sufficient, while we have been establishing official defence relations with many countries and international organisations and taking part in several military trade operations within the general national commercial activities, particularly the EVFTA on government procurement. Thus, offices in charge of legal affairs, planning, investment, and diplomacy as well as relevant ones shall give advice to leaders of the MND on measures to raise the effectiveness of managing international cooperation in law. While inspecting, reviewing, and assessing the results of international cooperation, and adjusting current policies and regulations, they shall design, supplement, and complete legal normative documents on signing international agreements and managing foreign aid in the legal field to fulfil our commitments to law international cooperation having financial assistance from other countries and international organisations in accordance with Vietnam’s Constitution and law, other countries’ law, international law, and the Party’s foreign policy of independence and self-reliance. The ultimate goal is to create the best mechanism and legal corridor for international cooperation in law to be conducted under plans.

Third, continue renewing and improving international cooperation in law. Offices and units across the VPA shall identify the central parts of international cooperation in law and key measures for this work, and propose the contents and methods of international cooperation and partnership in law relevant to the function, task, and authority of the MND and their own. They shall work with competent offices to establish relationships with foreign partners on international cooperation in law, with priority given to special traditional partners, neighbours, and countries having the developed legal and judiciary system but not sharing any political similarity. In the medium term, it is necessary to enhance delegation exchange programmes and flexibly apply other countries’ experience to building, completing and implementing law projects, such as the Law on Participating in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, the Law on National Defence Industry, the Law on Industry Mobilisation, the Law on Protecting Defence Constructions and Military Zones, the Law on Civil Defence, the Law on People’s Air Defence and other ones under the country’s law building programme in the period of 2021-2025 and the Master Plan for international integration towards 2020, with a vision towards 2030 by the Prime Minister. In the cooperation process, due attention should be paid to conducting surveys on other countries’ law enactment, amendment and enforcement, avoiding stereotypes, preventing other countries from intervening in our country’s military-defence policies and law, and ensuring relevance to the VPA’s particularities. At the same time, consideration should be given to readily sharing experience in military-defence law enactment and enforcement with partners. The institutionalisation of the State’s law  into military regulations and discipline and the building of a strong, safe, highly combative VPA capable of promoting its core role in defending the Homeland and effectively taking part in military-defence operations on a regional and global scale should be seen as a yardstick for assessing our international cooperation in law.

Fourth,  build a contingent of high-quality cadres in charge of legal affairs to meet the requirements set by defence international integration and international cooperation in law. To better international cooperation in law, it is necessary to well train cadres in charge of this field, closely combine domestic training with foreign training, and dispatch cadres to attend courses for their secondary degree in law, with a view to building a pool of cadres and officers in charge of international legal affairs and foreign relations both qualitatively and quantitatively. Emphasis should be placed on improving those cadres’ political zeal and command of foreign languages and international legal professions, such as legal affairs, peacekeeping, border, sea and island sovereignty, aviation, science and technology, manufacturing, and military trade as well as their work skills in the international environment according to the global citizenship criteria. At the same time, they shall be able to update and analyse military, security, economic, and diplomatic information about the world, the region, and the country. They shall be expert in international and domestic law, particularly the issues relating to seas, islands, border and national sovereignty so that they will help the CMC and the MND give advice to the Party and the State on signing international military-defence agreements and developing legal, diplomatic, and military solutions to preventing, pushing back, and neutralising the risk of war “from afar.”

Fifth, promote the advisory role of organisations and cadres in charge of legal affairs, particularly the Department of Legal Affairs in international cooperation in law. The Department of Legal Affairs shall closely cooperate with the Department of Foreign Relations, the Department of Planning and Investment, and other competent agencies of the MND, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and relevant ministries and sectors in advising the CMC and the MND on measures for consolidating the organisation structure of offices and cadres in charge of legal affairs across the VPA and raising the effectiveness of their international cooperation in law, while helping leaders of the MND to directly manage and direct international cooperation in law and law enforcement in the military-defence area. Great value should be attached to giving advice on the contents, scope, duration, and method of partnership, on responsibility and mechanism of partners, and on measures to handle differences and disputes as well as procedures to propose the contents and negotiations to sign and realise agreements on international cooperation in law practically, highly feasibly. Due attention should be paid to formulating and submitting a replacement for the Circular 95/2015/TT-BQP, dated August 15th, 2015 on proceedings and procedures for building, signing, joining and implementing international conventions to the Minister of National Defence for approval.

Sixth, enhance the work of internal political protection and ensure necessities for international cooperation in law. To prevent the hostile forces from taking advantage of our international integration and cooperation, offices, units, and forces taking part in external affairs and international cooperation in law shall abide by regulations on internal political protection, military and state secret assurance, and speech. When proposing, signing, and realising legal international cooperation agreements in the military-defence field, they shall closely collaborate with the Department of Military Security in designing and executing security plans and projects. Measures should be proactively implemented to prevent and foil the hostile forces’ “peaceful evolution” strategy, their intervention in the VPA’s development and completion of legal system, and their plot of “depoliticising” our Military. In addition, grounded on the annual legal international cooperation programme, organisations and cadres in charge of legal affairs, particularly the Department of Legal Affairs shall proactively formulate and submit action plans to leaders of the MND for approval, while working with relevant offices to provide facilities, means, equipment, and finance for international cooperation in law in a sufficient, timely, synchronous, modern way to satisfy the task requirements in both long and short terms.

Well implementing those above-mentioned measures will help mobilise external resources to modernise our legal system and create a favourable condition for the VPA to actively take part in global and regional military-defence operations, thereby making contributions to building a powerful, disciplined, safe, highly combative VPA capable of firmly protecting the Homeland in any situation.

Sr. Lt. Gen. VO MINH LUONG, Member of the Party Central Committee, Member of the CMC

Deputy Minister of National Defence

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