Mongolia Removes 17 Judges Over Corruption Accusations

Get United Against Corruption. Photo: UNODC
Get United Against Corruption. Photo: UNODC

Global anti-corruption group Transparency International says it is extremely concerned by the dismissal of 17 judges over corruption accusations in Mongolia, which is a country in East Asia.

In a statement issued on July 4, Transparency suggested that the Mongolian parliament should fully implement the joint recommendations issued in May by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.

The 17 judges were dismissed on 26 June by the Judiciary Council and National Security Council, based on amendments to laws governing the judiciary and anti-corruption agency that were adopted in an emergency session of Mongolian parliament on 27 March.

At that time, Transparency had criticized the amendments as threatening to “undermine the separation of powers and systems of checks and balances designed to prevent abuse and ensure respect for the rule of law.” In May 2019, the head and deputy head of Mongolia’s anti-corruption agency were removed from their posts under the amended laws.

“Mongolia is heading in a dangerous direction, and sacking 17 judges on accusations of corruption just after one month after two UN Special Rapporteurs recommended that the government stop politically interfering in the judicial system shows a flagrant disregard for the country’s international commitments. Removing these judges and sacking the heads of the anti-corruption agency threatens any recent gains in the fight against corruption in Mongolia,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International.

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Some Mongolian parliamentarians had called for judges to be dismissed, and Transparency International urges all state and non-state actors to respect the rule of law and due process in their words and actions.

Further, through a newly proposed draft law on non-profit legal entities and social media, the Mongolian parliament appears to be attempting to reduce freedom of expression, association, and civil society’s access to resources. Undermining democratic freedoms will lead to increased corruption and impunity, Transparency International warned.

A recent assessment by Transparency International showed that only 24 per cent of corruption cases in Mongolia were prosecuted and 76 per cent were dropped by prosecutors.

Transparency suggests that Mongolia should eliminate any interference by the National Security Council in the independence of the anti-corruption agency and establish a well-resourced and specialized anti-corruption court.

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Rakesh Raman