‘JGC was not established per Constitutional Court conclusion’

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- Implementation of Law on Courts reviewed -

   On August 20, Speaker of Parliament G.Zandanshatar held a discussion on the implementation of the Law on Courts of Mongolia, which was revised on January 15, 2021.

At the beginning of the discussion, the speaker stressed that the revised law strengthens the independence of the judiciary, makes judicial services more accessible to citizens, and guarantees the right of citizens to a fair trial.

Head of the working group to monitor the implementation of the law S.Byambatsogt said that preparations are underway to organize an open selection of members of the Judicial General Council (JGC), which is constitutionally responsible for ensuring the independence of judges and the judiciary and Judicial Disciplinary Committee (JDC), which reviews and resolves issues of judicial discipline.

More than 50 people have applied to become one of the 10 members to be openly appointed by Parliament, but this process has been delayed due to Conclusion No. 3 of the Constitutional Court of 2021, according to S.Byambatsogt.

Particularly, on April 28, the Constitutional Court concluded that Article 76.2, Article 77.1 through 77.11, and Articles 95.4, 95.5 and 95.7 of the Law on Courts of Mongolia violated the Constitution.

The law stipulates that Parliament shall appoint a non-judge member of JGC and JDC. The court ruled that the law violated the constitutional principle of allocation of state power, but Parliament rejected to accept the conclusion last May. Therefore, the Constitutional Court must convene again and the working group is awaiting the decision of the court, the lawmaker said.

Noting that due to the Constitutional Court’s decision, the establishment of JGC and JDC has been stalled, lawmaker B.Enkhbayar said, “Although Parliament made its decision in May, the Constitutional Court has not yet convened and it is unclear when it will convene. Therefore, in order to continue the judicial reform, the court needs to discuss it and make a decision within this month.”

During the meeting, Speaker G.Zandanshatar reminded that judges should be protected from external influence and good international standards set forth in the law should be implemented at all levels.

Chairman of JGC E.Batbayar underscored that there are 500 judges working in 116 courts of primary and appellate courts in Mongolia and reported on the work done to implement the law and the challenges faced.

“In accordance with the law, chief judges of all courts were elected from among judges between March 1 and 15. A proposal was submitted to consult with the Supreme Court to approve the criteria to be considered in establishing, reorganizing, dissolving and designating courts. The rules, standards and methodology of the court administration have been developed in accordance with the law,” he continued.

“A draft budget for next year was reviewed by the Standing Committee on Justice and submitted to the Ministry of Finance within the legal deadline. In accordance with the relevant parliamentary resolution, the draft budget includes an increase in the salaries of assistant judges, court administrators and court secretaries, as well as estimates of judges’ salary increases,” the chairman of JGC added.

He emphasized that there are difficulties in allocating human resources due to the fact that the law restricts transfer of judges.

Parliamentarian B.Enkhbayar criticized the Supreme Court for not resolving the issue of nominating a member of the Constitutional Court, and cautioned the court that Article 22 of the law, which states that court decisions are made public in a transparent, open and understandable manner, is not being implemented.

The nomination of a member of the Constitutional Court by the Supreme Court was organized in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations, and a proposal is expected to be submitted in the near future, acting Chief of Staff of the Supreme Court S.Amardelger said.

“The Law on Courts stipulates that a Judicial Training, Research and Information Institute shall be established under the Supreme Court to organize trainings, provide research and information to the judiciary, issue official explanations on the correct application of laws other than the Constitution, conduct necessary research, prepare proposals for improving legislation, prepare summaries of court decisions and report to the public. The institute was set up and plans are being made to report to the public about the court’s decision through the institute,” he stressed.

Highlighting the need to establish JGC as a matter of priority, Speaker G.Zandanshatar supported the proposal to amend the Law on Constitutional Court of Mongolia and Law on Constitutional Court Procedure. The amendment to the laws will be discussed and approved at the beginning of the fall session, which will enable the full implementation of the Law on Courts.

He instructed the Standing Committee on Justice to study the establishment of a court specifically for corruption cases and work promptly to create the necessary legal environment.

Misheel Lkhasuren