The Wars for Viet Nam

Excerpts from Law 10/59, May 6,1959

Article 1

Sentence of death, and confiscation of the whole or part of his property, . . . will be imposed on whoever commits or attempts to commit one of the following crimes with the aim of sabotage, or upon infringing upon the security of the State, or injuring the lives or property of the people:

1. Deliberate murder, food poisoning, or kidnapping.

2. Destruction, or total or partial damaging, of one of the following categories of objects by means of explosives, fire, or other means:

(a) Dwelling-houses, whether inhabited or not, churches, pagodas, temples, warehouses, workshops, farms and all outbuildings belonging to private persons;

(b) Public buildings, residences, offices, workshops, depots, and, in a more general way, all constructions of any kind belonging to the State, and any other property, movable or unmovable, belonging to, or controlled by the State, or which is under the system of concession, or of public management;

(c) All . . . means of transport, all kinds of vehicles;

(d) Mines, with machines and equipment;

(e) Weapons, military material and equipment, posts, buildings, offices, depots, workshops, and constructions of any kind relating to defense or police work;

(f) crops, draft animals and farm equipment . . .;

(g) Installations for telecommunications, postal service, broadcasting, the production and distribution of electricity and water . . .;

(h) Dikes, dams, roads, railways, airfields, seaports, bridges, channels, or works relating to them;

(i) Waterways, large or small, and canals....

Article 3

Whoever belongs to an organization designed to help to prepare or to perpetuate crimes enumerated in Article I . . ., or takes pledges to do so, will be subject to the sentences provided for....

Article 6

Three special military courts are set up and based in Saigon, Ban Me Thuot, and Hue.... As the need arises, other special military courts may be set up, by decree, ...

Article 16

The decisions of the special military court are not subject to appeal....

Article 20

All legal provisions which are contrary to the present law are hereby repealed...

Ngo Dinh Diem
Saigon, May 6, 1959

SOURCE: Gettleman (ed ), Vietnam: History, Documents, and Opinions, pp. 256-260.