Office relocation for 126 parliamentarians

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The resolution on the measures to be taken in connection with the amendments to the Constitution was approved before the closing of the regular spring session of Parliament. As a result, the building of the National Institute of Justice will be transferred to the Secretariat of Parliament.

Last May, Parliament ratified Resolution No. 34 on Law Enforcement Measures, and it was decided to integrate the aforementioned institute into the Parliamentary Research and Training Institute and operate under Parliament.

It is said that this is being done in order to improve the ability to analyze draft laws and regulations, and to expand the parliamentary research office, but it can be said that the building of the National Institute of Justice was “seized” in order to accommodate the 126 members to be elected in 2024 in the State Palace. In accordance with the “assignment” of changing the organization of the State Palace building, joint and standing committee meeting rooms to create conditions for the normal functioning of Parliament, the transfer of the building to the Parliament Secretariat must be done by August 1.

The working group responsible for this is headed by Deputy Speaker of Parliament L.Munkhbaatar, and consists of the chairs of some standing committees, ministers, and the heads of related organizations under Article 6.1 of the Law on State Palace, which stipulates, “The internal organization of the State Palace and the distribution of rooms and chambers shall be determined by the deputy speaker of Parliament in accordance with the workplace standards based on the exchange of opinions with the secretary general of Parliament, the head of the President’s Office, and the head of the Cabinet Secretariat.”

In addition, it is planned to change the Law on State Palace during the next parliamentary fall session. The law stipulates that the building where the supreme authority and executive body of Mongolia are permanently located and operate, shall be called the State Palace, and the size and boundaries of the territory shall be determined by Parliament. Thus, the work of preparing the authorities’ rooms has already begun.

NSC office to be moved to Ikh Tengeriin Am

In connection with increasing the number of members of Parliament by 50, a lot of work is being done. However, the issue of the security of the State Palace building has been raised for many years. Specifically, the building of the State Palace was started in 1947 and put into operation in 1951. Then, in 1961, 1981, and 2008, it was expanded to find its current appearance. It has been a long time since the conclusion of the professional organization that the buildings put into operation in 1951 and 1961 need to be demolished and built anew were issued. Because it was concluded that they are not resistant to earthquakes. However, since it requires a lot of funds, the issue of  dispersing the institutions operating in the State Palace has been discussed for many years at the level of the president, Parliament, and the government.

On the other hand, it is risky for national security if Parliament, the government and the president work under one place. It is considered inappropriate even by international standards and may become a factor affecting the loss of balances between governments. Indeed, it is safe to consider this in the situation where many members of Parliament are working in the Cabinet. For this reason, a proposal was made to transfer the Office of the President and the National Security Council (NSC) to the Ikh Tengeriin Am. This time, only NSC will be transferred to the place. Therefore, the buildings there are being renovated. However, the option of moving the President’s Office to the Winter House of the Head of State (also known as Marshal’s Town, Building No. 30) is being discussed.

Incidentally, there is talk of relocating the President’s Office to Kharkhorin from 2025. However, it is impossible to predict when this talk, which came out simultaneously with the establishment of the new capital in Kharkhorin, will be implemented. 

As for the government, they were talking about moving the office to Government Building No. 13, or the building of the Ministry of Roads and Transport Development, and sending the Office of Ulaanbaatar Mayor to Yaarmag. As for Parliament, since it was said almost 20 years ago that a new palace would be built with the help of Kuwait, in 2017, many alternatives were put forward, such as moving it to the Government Building No. 11 (the building in front of the Tengis cinema), but there were problems. In any case, when Parliament intends to “loot” buildings, they will not change their location.

Lawyers oppose new regulation for National Institute of Justice 

On the other hand, the merger of the National Institute of Justice into the Office of Parliament and the taking over of the building may have many negative consequences, starting with the influence of Parliament on the independent and professional activities of lawyers and researchers. For example, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Justice B.Enkhbayar opposed it when it was discussed. He expressed, “I don’t know which member of Parliament initiated the bill to dissolve the National Institute of Justice and merge it into a research and training institute attached to Parliament. The government did not initiate either. This is legal theft.” 

The Mongolian Bar Association issued a statement urging members not to support the draft resolution, saying, “The institute was established by the development loan agreement between Mongolia and the International Development Association, the Hanns Seidel Foundation, and the US Agency for International Development. The agreement will be valid until 2041, and Mongolia is obliged to fulfill it. As the organization attached to Parliament works only within the framework of the legislation approved by Parliament, the study of other sources of law will be neglected and the integrated system is about to be abandoned.”

In addition, lawyer B.Gunbileg commented, “It is very unfortunate that the National Institute of Justice is being abolished. In fact, the National Institute of Justice should not be a research center attached to Parliament, but the center should be under the aforementioned institute.”

Lawyer Kh.Temuujin and other lawyers also announced that they will approach the Constitutional Court on the issue. 

Moreover, Speaker of Parliament G.Zandanshatar once emphasized, “The status of the National Institute of Justice is being raised. In accordance with the bill, the institute under the ministry is being made under Parliament. Some ministries and offices have decided to take the institute under their wing. For this reason, it is going to be taken under the protection of Parliament. Parliament has exclusive powers to monitor and analyze the implementation of legislation. In this way, let’s strengthen the capacity of Parliament.”

Misheel Lkhasuren