6 May 1959: President Ngô Đình Diệm’s 10/59 Edict

In response to the increased insurgency efforts by National Liberation Front (NLF) militia in South Vietnam, President Ngô Đình Diệm issued his infamous edict on 6 May 1959. In it, Diệm empowered military tribunals to impose a death sentence on anyone belonging to the Việt Minh, Lao Động, any other Vietnamese communists or organisations in South Vietnam, and later any member of the NLF after it was formed in 1960.

Find highlights from the original edict below, courtesy of Alpha History:

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. 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 defence or police work…

f. Crops, draft animals and farm equipment…

g. Installations for telecommunications, postal service, broadcasting, production and distribution of electricity and water…

h. Dykes, 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 organisation designed to help to prepare or to perpetuate crimes enumerated in Article I . . ., or takes pledges to do so, will be subject to the [same] sentences…

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…

Ngô Đình Diệm
Saigon, May 6th 1959

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.