‘Unethical officials still work in law enforcement agencies’

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- National Assembly of Judicial and Law Enforcement Officials commences -

 The National Assembly of Judicial and Law Enforcement Officials was held last Friday at the State Palace.

The assembly discussed the challenges and issues facing the independence of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies in Mongolia, and sought possible solutions and measures for creating fair and independent judicial and prosecutorial reforms to restore public trust in the judiciary.

The president and some lawmakers addressed the assembly before experts made presentations on the judiciary.

President U.Khurelsukh stated, “Lawyers, who determine people’s destinies and the truth, are themselves violating the law and behaving unethically. Therefore, citizens are demanding accountability for them.”

Noting that the basic principles of all activities of the judiciary shall not go beyond the restrictions of human rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, the president said that the main role of the judiciary is to protect human rights and restore rights that have been violated.

He continued, “I told the people that I would work for the establishment of a truly democratic and just state, governed by the rule of law, and establish justice in society.”

“Mongolia has 519 judges, 564 prosecutors and more than 15,000 law enforcement officers. It is no secret that unethical and undisciplined officials still work in law enforcement agencies, putting their own and others’ interests above the interests of the country and breaking their oaths. This is upsetting the public. I regret that these officers are tarnishing the reputation of the judiciary as a whole. This shows that further attention needs to be paid to the ethics of lawyers,” President U.Khurelsukh added.

At the beginning of the assembly, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Justice S.Byambatsogt mentioned that the previous Parliament’s policy of reforming the judiciary for law enforcement agencies was entirely aimed at ensuring and protecting human rights. The current Parliament is working to improve it and deepen reforms, he said.

“One of the reasons for the lack of public trust in the judiciary is the lack of transparency. The revised Law on Courts aims to establish internal judicial democracy. Moreover, the Law on Infringements will be revised in order to eliminate better address existing violations. Legislative power will be fully exercised if Parliament fully monitors and demands the implementation of adopted laws,” lawmaker S.Byambatsogt noted.

Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs Kh.Nyambaatar made a presentation on “Legal Reform: Strengthening Justice and Promoting Economic Growth”. In his speech, the minister underscored that Parliament passed the Law on e-Signatures in 2011, but to date, 38,000 e-signatures have been issued.

Therefore, the government will take a lead in implementing e-signatures, he said. He emphasized that in accordance with a draft amendment to the Law on e-Signatures, one-time free e-signatures will be provided to all citizens over the age of 18 through state registration offices in 2022. This will allow the people to make civil law agreements legally binding electronically. The e-signatures will reportedly be renewed every four years.

“Biometrics need to be protected by law. This is because this type of information is currently available to all organizations. There is also need to regulate cyber security,” Minister Kh.Nyambaatar highlighted.

The justice minister said, “A number of activities will be held as part of criminal justice reform. Crimes related to financial fraud need to be regulated in detail. In particular, we plan to reflect cybercrimes in the Criminal Code.”

He stressed the importance of paying special attention to the education system at all levels of law training and inculcating the values of justice and ethics in those who aspire to become lawyers. Chief Judge of Supreme Court of Mongolia D.Ganzorig presented on the judicial reform, independence of the judiciary and its responsibility.

He reported, “In order to implement the law, we need to consolidate our understanding and make efforts to step in the right direction. The independence of the judiciary cannot exist without economic guarantees. In recent years, the budget for repairs and construction works has been less than 1 percent of the court’s own budget.”

A total of 724 judges are required to serve in the primary, appellate and supervisory courts. However, there is a shortage of more than 200 judges, D.Ganzorig noted.

Misheel Lkhasuren