Laos

Last updated on: 27 April 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Laos
Whether Specific law enacted: 
No
Number of people prosecuted: 
Not known
Number of people convicted: 
Not known
Applicable law: 

Penal Law 2005

See also draft Law on HIV/AIDS Control and Prevention, 2010 and opinion piece under Discussion section.

Key wording in the law: 

Article 88. Murder;

Article 89. Death Caused Negligently;

Article 90. Battery;

Article 91. Physical Injuries Caused Negligently

Key Cases: 

None

Discussion: 

GENERAL PART Chapter 1 General Principles

Article 9. Intentional Offences Intentional offences are voluntary acts or abstentions of the offender, which are undertaken with full knowledge of their dangerous nature for society and their consequences[1].

Article 10. Negligent Offences Negligent offences are acts or abstentions of the offender undertaken carelessly with full knowledge that such acts or abstentions might be dangerous for society, and where the consequence is expected and possible to anticipate, although the offender [himself] does not believe or expect that such consequence would take place[2].

SPECIFIC PART Chapter 2 Offences against the Life, Health and Honour of a Person

Article 88. Murder Any person intentionally causing the death of another person shall be punished by ten to fifteen years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 1,000,000 Kip to 5,000,000 Kip.

Article 89. Death Caused Negligently Any person causing another person's death negligently or inadvertently[3]shall be punished by two to five years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 200,000 Kip to 1,000,000 Kip.

Where such an offence results in the death of several persons, the offender shall be punished by five to ten years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 300,000 Kip to Kip 2,000,000.

Article 90. Battery Any person intentionally causing physical injury to another person shall be punished by three months to one year of imprisonment and shall be fined from 100,000 Kip to 5.00,000 Kip.

Where such an offence causes the victim to become an invalid or to die, the offender shall be punished by five to ten years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 700,000 Kip to 3,000,000 Kip.

Any attempt to commit such an offence shall also be punished.

Article 91. Physical Injuries Caused Negligently Any person causing physical injury to another person negligently or inadvertently shall be fined from 50,000 Kip to 300,000 Kip.

Where such an offence results in severe injuries, injuries to several persons or physical disability, the offender shall be punished by six months to three years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 100,000 Kip to 500,000 Kip.

See attached draft Law on HIV/AIDS Control and Prevention, 2010. This working translation of the law has been certified by the head of CHAS, the Lao Ministry of Health agency on HIV/AIDS, but is not formally an official English translation. Official translations are certified by the NA Law committee.

Relevant sections include:

46 Responsibilities of People Living with HIV and AIDS:

In addition, people living with HIV and AIDS have the following rights and responsibilities:

(3) Avoid behaviour that transmitting HIV infection to other people.

 

Article 50: Prohibitions for people living with HIV and AIDS

People living with HIV and AIDS are prohibited to perform the following actions:

1. Transmit HIV infection to a person by any means.

Article 64: Penalties

Individuals, families or organizations that fail to comply with this law may be educated, disciplined, fined, subject to civil compensation or criminal penalty, depending on the seriousness of the facts proven.

Article 65: Education Measures

Individuals, families or organizations that fail to comply with this law mainly on the instructions of medical personnel, discrimination, stigmatization, looking down on people living with HIV and AIDS or affected people, and fail to comply on HIV/AIDS prevention and control efforts should be educated and warned.

Article 65: Fined Measures

People living with HIV and AIDS who intentionally transmit HIV infection to others, such action shall be regarded as a criminal offense and those found guilty shall be imprisoned from five to ten years and fined from LAK 10,000,000 to 50,000,000.

In case an offender transmits HIV infection to others by habits or by organized group, an imprisonment sentence shall be from five to fifteen years and shall be fined from LAK 50,000,000 to 70,000,000.

[1]For readability, the structure of this sentence has been modified. There are two principal requirements under this article – voluntariness and knowledge of consequences.  

[2] For readability, the structure of this sentence has been modified.  

[3]In this translation, “negligence” is used in the sense set out in Article 10, while “inadvertently” is used to describe actions which cause a result by accident where the offender may not have given any thought to the consequences (e.g., turning a corner, the driver knocks a pedestrian down without realising the pedestrian is there).

Other laws and policies with an impact on responses to HIV

Laws relating to same sex, sexual relations: 

Penal Law 2005

SPECIFIC PART Chapter 6 Breach of Marital and Family Relationships and of Customs

Article 131. Prostitution

Any person engaging in prostitution shall be punished by three months to one year of imprisonment or by re-education without deprivation of liberty and shall be fined from 50,000 Kip to 500,000 Kip.

Any person assisting or facilitating prostitution shall be punished by three months to one year of imprisonment or re-education without deprivation of liberty and shall be fined from 300,000 Kip to 1,000,000 Kip.

Article 132. Procuring

Any person generating income through procuring prostitution in any manner whatsoever shall be punished by six months to three years of imprisonment and shall be fined from Kip 5,000,000 to 10,000,000 Kip.

Where procuring is performed as a regular profession or involves the prostitution of female minors48 or the forcing of a female person under the offender's guardianship into prostitution, the offender shall be punished by three to five years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 10,000,000 Kip to 50,000,000 Kip

Article 136. Pornography

Any person who, in the presence of members of the public or in any public place, engages in an act of sexual intercourse or exposes his or her sexual organs shall be punished by three months to one year of imprisonment or re-education without deprivation of liberty and shall be fined from 50,000 Kip to 200,000 Kip.

Article 137. Outrage to Decency

Except for the offences described in Article 128 of this law50, any person engaging in any act that causes embarrassment of a sexual nature to another person against such other person's will shall be punished by six months to three years of imprisonment or re-education without deprivation of liberty and shall be fined from 100,000 Kip to 500,000 Kip.

Laws relating to injecting drug use: 

Penal Law 2005

SPECIFIC PART Chapter 6 Breach of Marital and Family Relationships and of Customs

Article 146. (New) Production, Trade, Consumption or Possession of Narcotics

Any person who produces, trades, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of narcotics such as: heroin, amphetamines, any ingredient used in the production of heroin or amphetamines, opium, and marijuana, shall be punished as follows:

1. Any person who produces, trades, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit of less than one hundred grams of heroin through the Lao People's Democratic Republic shall be punished by ten to fifteen years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 50,000,000 Kip to 100,000,000 Kip. Furthermore, such person’s property shall be confiscated as provided under Article 34 of this law.

Any person who produces, trades, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit of heroin through the Lao People's Democratic Republic as a regular profession, as part of an organised group or in a quantity ranging between one hundred grams to three hundred grams shall be punished by fifteen to twenty years of imprisonment and shall be fined from more than 100,000,000 Kip to 500,000,000 Kip. Furthermore, such person’s property shall be confiscated as provided under Article 34 of this law.

Any person who produces, trades, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of more than three hundred grams up to five hundred grams of heroin shall be punished by life imprisonment and shall be fined from more than 500,000,000 Kip to 1,000,000,000 Kip. Furthermore, such person’s property shall be confiscated as provided under Article 34 of this law.

Any person who produces, trades, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of more than five hundred grams of heroin shall be punished by the death penalty.

2. Any person who produces, trades, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of less than one hundred grams of amphetamines or other psychotropic substances shall be punished by five to ten years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 10,000,000 Kip to 100,000,000 Kip. Furthermore, such person’s property shall be confiscated as provided under Article 34 of this law.

Any person who produces, trades, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of amphetamines or other psychotropic substances as a regular profession, as part of an organised group or in a quantity ranging from one hundred to five hundred grams of amphetamines or other psychotropic substances shall be punished by ten to twenty years of imprisonment and shall be fined from more than 100,000,000 Kip to 500,000,000 Kip. Furthermore, such person’s property shall be confiscated as provided under Article 34 of this law.

Any person who produces, trades, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of more than five hundred grams up to three thousand grams of amphetamines or other psychotropic substances shall be punished by life imprisonment and shall be fined from more than 500,000,000 Kip to 1,000,000,000 Kip. Furthermore, such person’s property shall be confiscated as provided under Article 34 of this law.

Any person who produces, trades, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of more than three thousand grams of amphetamines or other psychotropic substances shall be punished by the death penalty.

3. Any person who produces, trades, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of less than five hundred grams of precursors for the production of narcotics shall be punished by five to ten years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 5,000,000 Kip to 20,000,000 Kip. Furthermore, such person’s property shall be confiscated as provided under Article 34 of this law.

Any person who produces, trades, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of precursors for the production of narcotics as a regular profession or as part of an organised group or in a quantity ranging from five hundred grams to one thousand grams[1]shall be punished by ten to twenty years of imprisonment and shall be fined from more than 20,000,000 Kip to 50,000,000 Kip. Furthermore, such person’s property shall be confiscated as provided under Article 34 of this law.

Any person who produces, trades, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of more than one thousand grams up to ten thousand grams of precursors for the production of narcotics shall be punished by life imprisonment and shall be fined from more than 50,000,000 Kip to 100,000,000 Kip. Furthermore, such person’s property shall be confiscated as provided under Article 34 of this law.

Any person who produces, trades, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of more than ten thousand grams of precursors for the production of narcotics shall be punished by the death penalty.

4. Any person who produces, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of less than one kilogram of opium for trade shall be punished from two to seven years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 1,000,000 Kip to 10,000,000 Kip. Furthermore, such person’s property shall be confiscated as provided under Article 34 of this law.

Any person who produces, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of opium for trade as a regular profession or as part of an organised group or[2]in a quantity ranging from one to three kilograms of opium shall be punished by ten to fifteen years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 15,000,000 Kip to 20,000,000 Kip. Furthermore, such person’s property shall be confiscated as provided under Article 34 of this law.

Any person who produces, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of opium for trade as a regular profession or as part of an organised group or in a quantity from three to five kilograms of opium shall be punished by fifteen to twenty years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 30,000,000 Kip to 40,000,000 Kip. Furthermore, such person’s property shall be confiscated as provided under Article 34 of this law.

Any person who produces, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of opium in a quantity of more than five kilograms of opium shall be punished by life imprisonment and shall be fined from 50,000,000 Kip to 100,000,000 Kip. Furthermore, such person’s property shall be confiscated as provided under Article 34 of this law.

5. Any person who plants between three kilograms and ten kilograms of raw marijuana for trade purposes shall be punished by re-education without deprivation of liberty and shall be fined from 500,000 Kip to 2,000,000 Kip.

Any person who plants between three kilograms and ten kilograms of raw marijuana for trade purposes shall be punished by one to three years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 5,000,000 Kip to 20,000,000 Kip.

Any person who produces, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through the Lao People's Democratic Republic of one to ten kilograms of dry marijuana for trade shall be punished by three to seven years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 5,000,000 Kip to 20,000,000 Kip.

Any person who produces, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit through Lao People's Democratic Republic of dry marijuana for trade as a regular profession or as part of an organised group or involving over ten kilograms of dry marijuana shall be punished by five to ten years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 20,000,000 Kip to 50,000,000 Kip.

6. Any person who produces, sells, distributes, possesses, imports, exports, transports or causes the transit of synthetic drugs shall be considered as follows:

  • If after analysis of the drug, it is found that the drug is mixed with other substances, [the concerned person] shall be punished according to the weight and types of drugs mentioned above;
  • If, after analysis of the drug, it is found that there is no addictive drug mixed [with the substance], the seller and the buyer shall be punished by three to five years of imprisonment and shall be fined from 5,000,000 Kip to 10,000,000 Kip.

7. Any person who consumes, or purchases or possesses for consumption any heroin, morphine, or cocaine less than three grams, or amphetamines or other psychotropic substances less than three grams shall be regarded as victims and shall be sent for treatment.

The person providing services for the consumption of opium shall be punished by three years to ten years of imprisonment and a fine of 5,000,000 Kip to 20,000,000 Kip.

The person providing services for the consumption of marijuana shall be punished by three months to five years of imprisonment and a fine of 1,000,000 Kip to 5,000,000 Kip.

A person addicted to smoking marijuana shall be regarded as a victim and shall be sent for treatment.


[1]In the original text, the quantity is in kilogram.

[2]The translators are aware that the use of the disjunctive “or” in this paragraph and in the next paragraph leads to an ambiguous overlap among the paragraphs. However, the word “or” is specifically used in the Lao text.