Criminal Code amended to make sentences stricter for corruption
- By Misheel Lkhasuren -
- Dec 19,2022
In connection with recent coal theft allegations, Parliament amended the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code with 95.7 percent of votes during its plenary session on December 16.
The amendments include the following new regulations:
• There will be no pardon or forgiveness in cases of corruption and abuse of official positions. The amended laws will prohibit courts from ruling light sentences to cases of corruption and abuse of power or office by state officials and instead, make sentences stricter.
• A person involved in the crime of corruption will not be employed in public service for the remainder of their life and imprisonment for a term of five to 12 years will be imposed.
• Abuse of power and official position will not be let off with a fine.
• Corruption and office cases will not be processed in a simplified manner.
• If the relevant authority or official has not suspended the mandate of an official whose immunity is guaranteed by the Criminal Code, the statute of limitations for the crime is to be terminated and the statute of limitations will begin counting after the termination of the mandate.
• The increased assets and income of a person who has become rich without grounds will be confiscated and he or she will be sentenced to imprisonment for a period of two to eight years.
During the session, lawmaker Sh.Radnaased expressed that the strict provisions of the bill submitted by the government have been “softened”. “We need stricter penalties. The fine of 30 million to 40 million MNT should be raised to 400 million to 500 million MNT,” he said.
Chairman of the Standing Committee on Justice L.Munkhbaatar responded, “We are tightening the sentencing policy by amending the Criminal Code. During the discussion of the Standing Committee on Justice, the penalty provisions were not made lighter. Corruption crimes will have the highest penalty.”
“The consequences of corruption are paid by the entire society. Corruption undermines people’s trust in government and democracy. We believe that the newly-amended laws will be a big step in the fight against corruption,” Speaker of Parliament G.Zandanshatar remarked.
Moreover, five lawmakers, who are directly or indirectly involved in coal theft allegations, announced that they formed a lobby group to fight against coal theft.
‘IT IS NECESSARY TO SOLVE COURT BUILDINGS WITH UNIFIED POLICY’
On the same day, Parliament amended the draft parliamentary resolution on re-approving the number of judges.
In accordance with the resolution, the number of district criminal and civil judges will be increased by 24, while the number of criminal and civil judges of rural areas will be reduced by 24.
Lawmaker D.Ganbat commented during the parliamentary plenary session, “Judiciary must act according to its rules. We must create this condition. How much is the salary of judges? Has the court building been built? The Judicial General Council needs to make sure judges are ethical. The court is too involved in the internal affairs of political parties. What do you think about this issue? Are there really qualified judges? It is said that the National University of Mongolia’s graduates no longer meet the entry requirements of courts.”
Head of the Judicial General Council D.Zumberellkham replied, “Court buildings and working conditions are problematic. There are six courts that have no buildings at all. There are many courts operating in rundown buildings. There is not a single court operating in a building that meets the standards. It is necessary for the government to solve court buildings with a unified policy. An Ethics Committee will be established to hold judges who caused problems accountable.”
Emphasizing that there is a lot of political influence in the judiciary, Parliamentarian T.Enkhtuvshin said, “What changes will be made to the procedural law? This issue should be introduced to Parliament urgently. We need to pay special attention to the ethics of judges. Will you certify the 500 judges who are currently working? The Supreme Court should decide on the appointment of judges by itself.”
“We submitted a bill on the establishment of courts to Parliament. Without waiting for the approval of this bill, we submitted a draft resolution on the basis of the requirement to rotate judges. The Judicial Disciplinary Committee is responsible for ethical matters. The Law on Courts was revised in 2021 and it has only been a year since it took force. The issue of judicial appointment is being conducted according to the current law,” D.Zumberellkham stressed.
Member of Parliament J.Batsuuri underscored that the Judicial General Council should stop asking Parliament for buildings and salaries. He then added, “Judicial activities should be made open to all. We raised the salaries of judges when they asked. But are they making fair judgments? You need to stop saying that they don’t have enough salary or an appropriate building when talking about another problem.”
Legislator B.Enkhbayar expressed, “There are two judicial administrative officers at courts, namely the judge’s assistant and secretary. A judge’s assistant must pass the bar exam. This requirement is right. Assistants are given a full year to pass the bar exam. It is not the law’s fault that these people failed the exams. The Mongolian Bar Association must hold its general assembly every two years.”