Transparency International is extremely concerned by amendments to the Laws on the Legal Status of Judges, Public Prosecutor's Office and Anti-corruption adopted in an emergency session of the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia on March 27, 2019. Through the amendments, the national security council is able to revoke the mandate of chief judges and the heads of the public prosecutor's office and anti-corruption agency. These legal amendments undermine the separation of powers and systems of checks and balances designed to prevent abuse and ensure respect for the rule of law.
The parliament justified the measure as a matter of urgent national security and passed the amendments within 24 hours, without any proper hearing and public consultation. The next day, the President of Mongolia dismissed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and removed the Prosecutor-General and his deputy from their official positions. The move comes at a time when 49 out of 75 parliamentarians are being investigated by public prosecutors and the anti-corruption agency over allegations that they embezzled public funds for small and medium sized enterprises and channelled the preferential loans to their beneficial or controlled businesses.
Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International, said, "Political interference in judicial issues is dangerous, and of grave concern. The arbitrary removal of judges and prosecutors, or the heads of the anti-corruption agency, will slow down recent gains in the fight against corruption in Mongolia. Whatever issues exist in the judicial and anti-corruption system in Mongolia, a strong and independent judiciary and anti-corruption agency are essential parts of the country’s justice system and integrity infrastructure.”
Transparency International's national chapter in Mongolia reminds the government that political or grand corruption is the biggest threat to democracy. While everyone should be accorded due legal process as provided by the Constitution of Mongolia, there should be no impunity for corrupt officials.
Transparency International is also alarmed by recent attempts by the Mongolian government to reduce freedom of expression, association, and civil society’s access to resources through a newly proposed draft law on non-profit legal entities. Undermining democratic freedoms will lead to increased corruption and impunity, Transparency International warned, adding that the government of Mongolia should fulfil its commitments under articles 11 and 13 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
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