‘142 prisoners were released’

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On July 20, the Standing Committee on Justice reported on key laws approved during the spring session.

Noting that one of the most important laws passed at the spring session was the Amnesty Law, Chairman of the standing committee S.Byambatsogt said, “This year marks the 100th anniversary of the People’s Revolution. In connection with this, a one-time amnesty law was adopted. Convicts convicted of official misconduct, murder and rape will not be pardoned. It also adhered to the principle that a person who had previously been pardoned would not be pardoned again. With the approval of the Amnesty Law, 142 prisoners were released and the sentences of 371 prisoners were commuted. Some people criticize the law. However, I would like to emphasize that the Amnesty Law was adopted within the principle of flexibility and compassion of the state.”

“Moreover, most of the people fined under the Law on Infringements are traffic offenders. So far, traffic fines worth 70 billion MNT have not been paid. The law stipulates that if a citizen pays 50 percent of their fine by October 1, the remaining 50 percent will be forgiven. If the fine is not paid by October 1, it will be demanded in full,” he added.

In particular, the seventh Amnesty Law led to the release of around 3.6 percent of all prisoners and changed 8.9 percent of prison sentences to travel restrictions, as well as a two-year reduction in 4.5 percent of prison sentences.

The Amnesty Law entered into force on July 6, and excludes 38 types of crimes and offences, including crime on money laundering, terrorism financing, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, tax avoidance and violent crimes, drug-related crimes, environmental crimes, sexual assaults, crimes against children, and corruption.

Parliament adopted amnesty laws in 1991, 1996, 2000, 2006, 2009 and 2015.

S.Byambatsogt emphasized that the process of making Mongolia’s judiciary independent has not yet been decided, and said that due to the conclusion of the Constitutional Court, this process has been postponed to some extent.

“One of the big issues resolved at the spring session was the appointment hearing. For instance, for the first time, the deputy commissioner general of the Independent Authority Against Corruption was appointed publicly. The practice of arbitrarily appointing chairpersons was abolished, and appointment hearings were held for the first time,” parliamentarian S.Byambatsogt said.

He underscored that on April 2, 2021, Parliament passed the Law on the Legal Status of Human Rights Defenders. “Mongolia became the first country in Asia to unite human rights defenders, including civil society organizations that protect human rights. This law was passed to protect the people who are working for human rights. The law defines a human rights defender as a person who engages in or participates in human rights activities, independently or in association with others,” he said.

The law came into force on July 1, 2021.

Lawmaker Ts.Munkhtsetseg reported on the revised Law on Copyright and Related Rights and the Law on Patents.

The Law on Copyright was first adopted in 1993 and amended in 2006 as the Law on Copyright and Related Rights in accordance with international treaties, conventions and reforms in social and economic relations.

She noted that during the implementation of the law, the use, copying, and illegal income of intellectual property without permission of the author or right holder has increased dramatically, and there is a need to improve the regulation of copyrights and related rights.

The revised law includes a new provision on the copyright of computer programs, which stipulates that copyrights can be exercised if the computer program is self-designed or created in accordance with official duties.

She said, “It stipulates that the Copyright and Related Rights Council is responsible for reviewing and certifying tariffs for the use of works, and for resolving complaints related to the payment and distribution.”

In accordance with the law, copying of published works for the visually or hearing-impaired, the cross-border exchange of copies, distribution, and copyright restriction will be regulated.

It also regulates the approval of tariffs for the use of works, preliminary resolution of complaints related to the use, payment and distribution of works, mediation of disputing parties, and harmonization of penalties with international standards.

Misheel Lkhasuren