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Southeast Asian Legal Research Guide: Treaties

Treaties and their Effect on Domestic Law

Treaties are entered into in accordance with the 2016 Law on Treaties (Law Number 108/2016/QH13, 9 April 2016). An unofficial translation of the Law on Treaties is available on the Economica  Legal Documents & Laws website.

Treaties are a source of law in Vietnam.

The Law on Treaties is not explicit about how treaties are incorporated into domestic law. Article 6: 'Treaties and Provisions of Domestic Law', states:

  • 6(1)  'If a legal document, except the Constitution, and a treaty to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a contracting party have different provisions on the same issue, the treaty shall prevail'.
  • 6(2) states that the National Assembly, the President or the Government shall decide whether to be bound by the treaty if the provisions of the treaty are clear and detailed enough for immediate implementation, or whether it requires amendments, supplementation, or promulgation of domestic legal documents to implement the treaty.

From these provisions, it appears clear that ratified and concluded treaties that are 'clear and detailed enough' are self-executing (the 'incorporation' or monist approach) and automatically part of Vietnamese law, while others may require domestic legislation to implement them (the 'transformation' or dualist  approach). However, no guidance is provided to law makers or judges on how to tell if treaties are 'clear and detailed enough' to be self-executing, and therefore whether national or international law prevails. 

Further reading: Lan Ah Nguyen, Hao Duy Phan and Jessye Freeman, The Reception of International Law in the Legal System of Vietnam in International and ASEAN Law in the ASEAN 10 National Jurisdictions (open access)

Human Rights Treaties Adherence

Vietnam has ratified ICERD, ICCPR, ICESCR, CEDAW, CRC and its two Optional Protocols OP-CRC-SC and OP-CRC-AC. Vietnam is a signatory to CRPD.

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC) Project website includes information on the international human rights and humanitarian treaties and regional treaties to which Vietnam is a party. This information includes relevant reservations, derogations and declarations. The website notes that 'Vietnam has adhered to a limited number of major international human rights and humanitarian law treaties'.

Please note that this website, whilst very useful, is somewhat dated and no longer updated. To check the current status of all Vietnamese human rights and related treaties, use the official UN Treaties Series Online website (see box to the right for details).

Finding Treaties

‚ÄčOnce entered into force, treaties must be published in the Official Gazette, on the website of the proposing agency, and in a Treaties Database on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Articles 60 and 62 of the Law on Treaties). As at mid 2018, this treaties database does not yet seem to have been created, at least not in English.

There is no Vietnamese treaty series. The best place to find all bilateral and multilateral Vietnamese treaties deposited with the United Nations is the official UN Treaty Series Online. You can search for a treaty, or see all Vietnamese treaties by selecting Participant from the top menu, then selecting Vietnam from the dropdown 'Filter' menu. Another participant can be added.

The treaties can be sorted by title, conclusion date, date of entry into force, and type (bilateral or multilateral).

Click on the 'See Details'; link of a treaty to see full treaty information, including the UNTS volume, if there is one.

On the details page, click the 'Text Document' or 'Volume in PDF' link to link to the full text official treaty.