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Wildlife Protection Law Resource Center

 

 

A – International Law

• The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITE

B – National Law

I. Regularly law

• Law on Biodiversity

• Law on Forest Protection and Development

• Law on Forestry 2017 (effective from January 1, 2019)

• Decree 160/2013/ND-CP on criteria to determine species and regime of managing species under the list of endangered, precious and rare species prioritized protection.

• Decree 82/2006/ND-CP on the management of export, import, re-export, an introduction from the sea, transit, breeding, rearing and artificial propagation of endangered species of precious and rare wild Fauna and Flora. 

• Decree 32/2006/ND-CP on the management of endangered, precious and rare forest plants and animals.

• Circular 47/2012/TT-BNNPTNT providing on managing the exploitation from the nature and the nurture of usual forest animals

• Circular 90/2008/TT-BNN of the MARD guiding handling of evidence being forest animals after confiscation

• Decision 11/2013/QD-TTg on banning export, import, purchase and sale of the specimens of a number of wild fauna species in appendices to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

• Decision 95/2008/QD-BNN promulgating regulations bear management

• Decision 82/2008/QD-BNN regarding declaration of the list of endangered aquatic species in Vietnam in need of protection, reproduction, and development.

• Directive 28/CT-TTg of the Prime Minister providing urgent solutions for preventing and fighting violations against wild animals  

• Directive 03/CT-TTg of the Prime Minister enhancing the command and implementation of measures to control and conserve endangered, precious and rare animal species

II. Punishment law

• Penal Code 2017

• Penal Code 2009

• Decree 155/2016/ND-CP on penalties for administrative violations of regulations on environmental protection

• Decree 157/2013/ND-CP on penalties for administrative violations against regulations on forest management, development, protection and forest product management (amended, supplemented by Decree 41/2017/ND-CP)

• Decree 103/2013/ND-CP on penalties for administrative violations of regulations on aquaculture (amended, supplemented by Decree 41/2017/ND-CP)

• Joint Circular 19/2007/TTLT-BNN-BTP-BCA-VKSNDTC-TANDTC guiding application of the Penal Code in forest management, and protection and management of forest products

• Correspondence 2140/VKSTC-V3 on restoring prosecution of suspended ivory/rhino horn crimes 

C – Reference Documents

• IUCN Guidelines for the Placement of Confiscated Animals

• Diagram of the Vietnamese Legal System

• Index of Wildlife Protection Legislation

 

A – International Law

 

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international treaty regulating the trade of endangered wildlife amongst countries to avoid over-exploitation that could lead to extinction. It does not regulate any forms of domestic trade. CITES includes about 5,000 species of animals and 25,000 species of plants, divided into three appendices, which means that their trade is regulated through a standardized permit system:

 

- Appendix I includes endangered species threatened with extinction. Trade and exchange of these species requires an export license and import license issued by the CITES Management Authority of both the exporting and importing countries.

 

- Appendix II includes vulnerable species that could become extinct with uncontrolled exploitation. Trade in these species between countries requires an export license issued by the CITES Management Authority of the exporting country.

 

- Appendix III includes species protected from exploitation in at least one member country, which needs the cooperation of other member states to control the trade. Trade in these species requires an export license issued by CITES Management Authority of the exporting country. 

 

B – National Law

 

I. Regularly Law

 

Law on Biodiversity 2008
The Law 20/2008/QH12 on Biodiversity was promulgated by the National Assembly on November 13, 2008 and came into effect on July 1, 2009. This law has dedicated four chapters with 18 regulations on conservation and sustainable development of species. Accordingly, wild animals will be included in the list of endangered, precious and rare species prioritized for protection for the purpose of protecting endemic species, species threatened with extinction, species that are prohibited from exploitation, and wild species that need protection from exploitation in natural conditions. The law also prescribes regulations on protected areas, conservation areas and prohibited activities in protected areas. 

 

Law on Forest Protection and Development 2004

All species of wild animals are afforded some level of protection under the Law on Forest Protection and Development, which came into effect April 1, 2005. Accordingly, it’s illegal to hunt, transport, keep, advertise, sell, purchase and consume wildlife without an appropriate permit issued by the Forest Protection Department to show that the animal was of legal origin.

 

Law on Forestry 2017

The Law on Forestry 2017 has been passed by the National Assembly and will come into effect from January 1, 2019 and replace the Law on Forest Protection and Development 2004. The Law on Forestry also prohibits acts of hunting, capturing, keeping, killing, transporting, storing, selling or specimen collection of illegal wildlife. 

 

Decree 160/2013/ND-CP dated November 12, 2013 by the Government on the criteria for identification and management of endangered, rare and precious species prioritized for protection

The Decree became effective on January 1, 2014 and regulates a system of criteria to evaluate and identify which species shall be categorized in the list of endangered, rare and precious species prioritized for protection. Following that, species must satisfy the following criteria to be put in the list: (i) Quantity of individuals is few or in danger of extinction and (ii) Being endemic species, or having one of the special values related to science, medicine, economy, ecology, environmental landscape and culture-history.

 

The Decree also states all principles in protection of these species and sets up a tight mechanism to manage exploitation; exchange, trading, gift, hiring, storing, transporting of specimens; breeding and rescuing of the species.

 

Decree 82/2006/ND-CP dated August 10, 2006 by the Government on the Management of Export, Import, Re-export and Introduction from the Sea, Transit, Breeding, Rearing and Artificial Propagation of Endangered species of precious and rare wild Fauna and Flora 

The decree stipulates specific procedures relating to export, import, re-export and introduction from the sea, transit, breeding, rearing and artificial propagation of animals and plants (including hybrids) of endangered, precious and rare species, including: (i) Specimens of wild animals and plants specified in Appendices I, II and III of CITES; and (ii) Specimens of endangered, precious and rare wild animals and plants, as prescribed in Vietnamese law.

 

Decree 32/2006/ND-CP dated March 30, 2006 by the Government on the Management of Endangered, Precious, and Rare Forest Fauna and Flora Species.

Decree 32 is Vietnam’s primary wildlife protection decree. According to this decree, it is illegal to hunt, transport, keep, advertise, sell, purchase and consume rare and endangered species or their parts and derivatives.

The Decree has grouped endangered, precious and rare animals into two groups:

- Group IB: Includes endangered and critically endangered species. The exploitation and use of these species for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited. A permit is required for scientific research and conservation purposes of these species.

- Group IIB: Includes threatened and rare species. A permit is required for all purposes, including scientific research, conservation and commercial exploitation of these species.

 

Circular 47/2012/TT-BNNPTNT providing on managing the exploitation from the nature and the nurture of common forest animals

On September 25, 2012, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development issued Circular 47/2012/TT-BNNPTNT on the management and exploitation of common wildlife species. This circular lists 160 species of common forest animals of which exploitation and farming are permitted for commercial purposes, according to the provisions set out in this Circular.

 

Circular 90/2008/TT-BNN dated August 28, 2008 by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Guiding the Handling of Wild Animals after Confiscation 

Wild animals confiscated from illegal activities must be handled according to the order specified in this circular, based on the level of endangered and rare grouping (IB, IIB, Appendix I of CITES, Appendix II of CITES, or common wild animals). The handling is also based on the status of the animals: alive, dead, in parts, domestic or introduced species.

 

For example, a live, domestic animal belonging to Group IB, would be processed in the following order: (i) Release to the wild; (ii) Transfer to an animal rescue center if injured, sick or weak; (iii) Transfer to scientific research institution (including breeding research facility) for environmental education; (iv) Sale to zoos, performing arts organizations, or any legal animal breeding facilities; (v) Destruction of animals carrying diseases or that cannot be handled by the above measures.

 

For cases where the animal is dead or in parts, and belonging to Group IB: (i) Transfer to a scientific institution, training institution, environmental education institution, specialized museum, specialized management agency, or to a medical facility for research or to make medicine; (ii) Destruction of the body/parts in cases of infection or where it cannot be handled by the above measures.

 

Decision 11/2013/QD-TTg dated January 24, 2013 by the Prime Minister on Prohibiting Import, Export, Trade of Wildlife Specimen in CITES appendices

The Decision prohibits import, export, and trade of wildlife specimens of white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), and African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and products/derivatives from these aforementioned species. 

 

Decision 95/2008/QD-BNN dated August 28, 2008 by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Stipulating the Regulation of Captive Bear Management 

This Decision contains provisions on housing conditions, hygiene, veterinary and other conditions for registered bear farms. It also prohibits the acts of hunting, trapping, purchase, sale, slaughter, transport, advertising, export, import, and temporary import for re-export of bears and bear products derived contrary from the provisions of the law.

 

Decision 82/2008/QD-BNN dated July 17, 2008 by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on issuance of list of Vietnam’s endangered aquatic species that need of protection and development

This Decision issued a list of endangered aquatic species that should be strictly protected under current legislation. The list is based on the criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – Version 2.2, 1994 and also Vietnam’s Red Data Book (version 2007) to evaluate the critical level of endangered species as Extinct (EX), Extinct in the wild (EW); Critically endangered (CR); Endangered (EN) or Vulnerable (VU).

 

Directive 28/CT-TTg of the Prime Minister providing urgent  solutions for preventing and fighting violations against wild animals

The Directive urged relevant parties to prevent and combat crimes involving products of endangered species, including ivory and rhino horn. Through this Directive, the Prime Minister requests ministries and provincial-level agencies to continue strictly implementing Directive 03/TT-TTg dated February 20, 2014 on guiding and implementing controlling and protecting measures towards endangered species. Click here to see the full document.

 

Directive 03/CT-TTg of the Prime Minister enhancing the command and implementation of measures to control and conserve endangered, precious and rare animal species

According to this Directive, the Prime Minister commanded state authorities, including the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Information and Communication, the Supreme Court and Procuracy, Provincial People's Committees to promote and implement regulations on wildlife protection.

 

II. Punishment Law

 

Penal Code (2017) 

The new Penal Code 2017 increases the maximum jail term for wildlife crime from 7 years to 15 years and includes penalty for commercial legal entities as double of the penalty applied for individuals. Along with possession of endangered wildlife becoming a criminal offence, the new Penal Code takes on board all of ENV's recommendations.

 

Penal Code (2009)

The Penal Code 15/1999/QH10 stipulated the crime of breaching regulations on the protection of precious and rare wildlife in Article 190. When the Penal Code was amended in 2009, Article 190 was adjusted into the crime of breaching regulations on the protection of animals in the list of endangered, precious, and rare species prioritized for protection. Accordingly, the acts of illegal hunting, killing, transporting, smuggling, raising and keeping of endangered, rare and precious wild animals prioritized for protection and the act of illegal transporting and smuggling of their products/ body parts are prohibited. The offenders shall be subject to a fine from 50 million VND to 500 million VND, non-custodial reform for up to three years or a prison term up to seven years.

 

The Penal Code 2009 has been replaced by the Penal Code 2017 since January 1, 2018. However, it is still applicable for violations happening before 2018.

 

Decree 155/2016/ND-CP dated November 18, 2016 by the Government on administrative sanctions imposed on violations with respect to environmental protection

The new Decree replacing Decree 179 from February 1, 2017, provides administrative sanctions imposed on persons illegally harvesting wildlife in strictly protected areas and persons violating regulations on management of conservation facilities. Click here to see the full document.

 

Decree 157/2013/ND-CP dated November 11, 2013 by the Government on administrative sanctions imposed on violations with respect to forest control, forest development, forest protection and forest product management

According to the Decree, the acts to be administratively sanctioned include: (1) Hunting, trapping, catching, killing animals; (2) extracting derivatives of animals; (3) transporting animals, parts/derivatives of animals; (4) purchasing, selling, keeping, processing animals, parts/derivatives of animals; (5) commercial advertising of wild animals; and (6) legally purchasing, selling, keeping, processing animals, parts/derivatives of animals but violating the procedure. Based on the nature and extent of danger of the violation, there is a range of fines from 500 thousand VND up to 500 million VND for individuals. The maximum punishments for organizations are double the fines of individuals.

 

Decree 103/2013/ND-CP dated September 12, 2013 by the Government on administrative sanctions imposed on violations with respect to fisheries

According to the Decree, any persons committing acts of exploiting, trading, collecting, raising, keeping, pre-processing and processing endangered, rare, and precious species or exploiting, collecting, pre-processing, processing and transporting aquatic species prohibited from exploitation shall be administratively fined up to 100 million VND for individuals or 200 million VND for organizations. The amount of fine depends on the quantity of aquatic species being violated. 

 

In addition, the Decree also regulates that all aquatic species shall be confiscated and released back to their habitat (if alive) or transferred to competent authorities (if dead).

 

Joint Circular 19//2007/TTLT/BNN&PTNT-BTP-BCA-VKSNDTC-TANDTC dated March 8, 2007 on Guiding Application of the Penal Code in Forest Management, Protection and Management of Forest Products  

This Joint Circular guides the implementation of Article 190 of the Penal Code 1999 on Breaching the Regulations on the Protection of Precious and Rare Wildlife. It is related to the species of precious and rare animals included in Group IB of Decree 32. It guides the evaluation of the specific level of a violation, so as to apply appropriate and reasonable punishments. The Circular includes an Appendix on the determination of the number of individual animals from the endangered, precious, and rare species list and Group IB as the basis for determination. For example, for violations relating to bears, a crime involving one bear has serious consequences, two to three bears - very serious consequences, and four bears upwards - extremely serious consequences, whilst a crime involving just one tiger has already been deemed resulting in extremely serious consequences. 

 

This Joint Circular has no retroactive effect towards Article 190 of the Penal Code 2009, however, it is still applicable as a practical reference for serious violations to determine penalty range.

 

Correspondence 2140/VKSTC-V3 dated June 8, 2016 by Supreme Procuracy on Restoring Prosecution of Suspended Ivory/Rhino Horn Crimes

The correspondence is, resulting from the consultation amongst the Supreme Procuracy, Supreme Court and Ministry of Public Security, instructed all procuracies to resolve all pending ivory and rhino horn related cases by applying Clause 1 of Article 155 of the Penal Code 2009. The regulations of this correspondence over handling of ivory and rhino horn cases has been replaced by Article 244 of the Penal Code 2017, however, it is still an applicable reference document for cases happening before 2018.

 

III - Reference Documents

 

IUCN Guidelines for the Placement of Confiscated Animals

These are the guidelines of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on the handling of live wild animals after confiscation, for the purposes of conservation.

Accordingly, there are several solutions: 

1)    To maintain the animals in captivity for the remainder of their natural lives; 

2)    To return the animals to the wild;

3)    To euthanize the animals, i.e. humanely destroy them

The guidelines also describe processing and handling rules, decision-tree analysis to evaluate the application of a solution to the current regulations, customs and economic conditions while ensuring the conservation of the species.

 

Diagram of the Vietnamese Legal System

 

Index of Wildlife Protection Legislation

 

 

  • First, prohibited activities include hunting, catching, killing, rearing, caging, transporting and/or trading of endangered, precious and rare species or their parts and derivatives.  The revised penal code has also added possession as a criminal offense, closing a critical loophole that previously allowed criminals to escape with fines for keeping tigers, rhino horn, and other endangered species and their products.
  • Second, species fully protected under the penal code include endangered species listed under Decree 160 (2013) and CITES Appendix I.  However, the penal code also affords greater protection to species that are not listed on either Decree 160 or Appendix I of CITES, permitting authorities to criminally charge offenders if they are engaged in illegal activities involving large quantities of animals. This new aspect of the penal code strengthens the hand of law enforcement dealing with criminal networks that smuggle large quantities of species like snakes or freshwater turtles that are not specifically protected under endangered species laws.
  • Third, the new Penal Code allows the courts to issue fines of up to one billion VND (~ $44,000 USD) and prison sentences of up to 15 years for major offenses.  This is a substantial increase over the previous version of the penal code which set maximum jail terms at seven years.