Language Switcher

Brunei Darussalam – Southeast Asia Security Laws

The Constitution of Brunei Darussalam (1959, 1984) establishes the structure and powers of the government. Article 83 in the Constitution grants the Sultan substantial powers to declare and act under a state of emergency. A state of emergency has been in place in Brunei Darussalam since 1962.

The Criminal Procedure Code (1951 rev. 2001) lists the investigation, pre-trial, trial, and appellate rules of procedure for the judiciary.

The Criminals Registration Act (2008) establishes a Register of Criminals to collect and keep a record of the fingerprints, photographs, and DNA samples of persons convicted of a non-trivial crime.

The Syariah Penal Code Order (2013) was enacted by Brunei Darussalam in October 2013. It contains provisions which provides for the death penalty for both Muslims and non-Muslims for the crimes of robbery (article 63), rape (article 76), and adultery and sodomy (article 82). The Penal Code also specifies that the manner by which capital punishment is to be imposed for rape, adultery, sodomy, and extramarital sexual relations is stoning to death.

The Internal Security Act (1982, 2002) (ISA) permits the detention of suspects indefinitely for renewable two-year periods (section 3). The rules of criminal procedure, including the right to habeas corpus, are suspended for those detained under the ISA [section 61(b)]. A definition of the term “terrorist” is found in section 2 of the ISA, but such definition is vague and encompasses a wide variety of acts that are ambiguously defined. The ISA has been used in the past to detain individuals and suppress views, but does not appear to have been utilized to detain prisoners since 2009.

The Anti-Terrorism (Financial and other Measures) Act (2002) lists offenses such as providing or collecting funds for terrorists, dealing with the property of terrorists, providing resources and services to terrorists, and making terrorist threats. It also contains a provision that allows the Minister of Finance to declare a person a “terrorist” under section 11 of the law. The term “terrorist act” is broadly defined in section 2 of the law.

The Internationally Protected Persons Act (1995) implements the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons. The term “internationally protected persons” specifically refers to heads of state, heads of government, foreign ministers, diplomats, and their families. The law allows the prosecution in Brunei of persons who commit crimes against internationally protected persons, whether or not the crime was committed in the country.

The Arms and Explosives Act (1927 rev. 2002) grants the Sultan the power to makes laws regulating the possession, sale, licensing, manufacture, importation, exportation, and transportation of weapons. The Arms and Explosives Rules (1928 rev. 2002) require the possession, manufacture, importation, and exportation of weapons to be licensed.