Rule of law and independence of judiciary 'under threat' in Mongolia

By agency reporter
July 9, 2019

Transparency International has expressed deep concern at the dismissal of seventeen judges over corruption accusations in Mongolia. The Mongolian parliament should fully implement the joint recommendations issued in May by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, it says.

The 17 judges were dismissed on 26 June 2019 by the Judiciary Council and National Security Council, based on amendments to laws governing the judiciary and anti-corruption agency that were adopted in an emergency session of Mongolian parliament on 27 March. At that time, Transparency International criticised the amendments as threatening to “undermine the separation of powers and systems of checks and balances designed to prevent abuse and ensure respect for the rule of law.” In May 2019, the head and deputy head of Mongolia's anti-corruption agency were removed from their posts under the amended laws. 

Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International, said: “Mongolia is heading in a dangerous direction, and sacking seventeen judges on accusations of corruption just one month after two UN Special Rapporteurs recommended that the government stop politically interfering in the judicial system shows a flagrant disregard for the country’s international commitments. Removing these judges and sacking the heads of the anti-corruption agency threatens any recent gains in the fight against corruption in Mongolia.”

Some Mongolian parliamentarians had called for judges to be dismissed, and Transparency International has urged all state and non-state actors to respect the rule of law and due process in their words and actions. Further, through a newly proposed draft law on non-profit legal entities and social media, the Mongolian parliament appears to be attempting to reduce freedom of expression, association, and civil society’s access to resources. Undermining democratic freedoms will lead to increased corruption and impunity, Transparency International warned.

A recent assessment by Transparency International showed that only 24 per cent of corruption cases in Mongolia were prosecuted and 76 per cent were dropped by prosecutors. The organisation calls on Mongolia to eliminate any interference by the National Security Council in the independence of the anti-corruption agency and establish a well-resourced and specialised anti-corruption court.

* Read the recommendations from the UN Special Rapporteurs here

* Transparency International https://www.transparency.org/

[Ekk/6]

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