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TALE OF THREE MONKEYS: POLITICAL PARTIES CONSPIRING TO PARDON CORRUPT CRIMINALS

The parliament has started granting pardons. Last week they passed a law on economic transparency, which gives amnesty to legal entities that hide their revenue to avoid taxation. It was fortunate that the corruption-related revenue, which causes the most frustration among the general public, was not included in the pardons because of feedback from some parliamentarians during the final review of the law.
This week the parliament is going to quietly pass the law on amnesty, which includes a vague clause that would allow being pardoned from corruption crimes. It is odd that the discussion of the amnesty law of a democratic country has been kept from the public.

WHY ARE PARDONS GRANTED?

Pardons release people from punishments that have been legally imposed. International practice shows that pardons are historically given by a head of state to rectify decisions that resulted in unfair punishment.
In Mongolia, pardons were given in 1991, 1996, 2000, 2006, and 2009, in accordance with the law on amnesty, and in 2008 under the law on tax amnesty. The two laws are the reason why pardons are being granted in 2015. A total of 6,600 people are in jail today in Mongolia. Approximately 330 are women and 30 are juveniles under the age of 18. About half of all prisoners are first-time offenders who have been sentenced to serve time in jail.
If the law on amnesty now under discussion is passed, about 50 percent of all prisoners, including most women and juvenile offenders, will be given a pardon. This is a humanitarian step showing that society believes that these offenders will not commit a crime again. On the other hand, questions are being asked in Mongolia’s society today: Why have these people been sentenced if they are to be pardoned, and what degree of fairness do our criminal law and court decisions follow?
In particular, our society is losing faith in Mongolia’s legal system and the authorities, because the pardons currently under discussion would excuse people from crimes of corruption, where they’ve misused their position or power and are about to go to trial. Ruling power is obtained by political parties. In other words, it goes to a few individuals. Mongolians already know that the corruption-related cases of no fewer than 50 individuals who are representatives of those political parties have caused far more negative consequences than the offenses of the other 3,000 people who are about to be pardoned.

PURPOSE OF THE 2015 AMNESTY LAW

If the current draft of the law on amnesty is approved, it would affect the discovery process, investigation, and decision making related to many alleged crimes that are being examined by the anti-corruption agency today. Also, the law would basically stop the fight against corruption that has been started loudly in recent years. This information is floating around in the public. On Monday it was reported by medee.mn that there are currently 55 investigations being carried out by the Independent Authority against Corruption (IAAC), and 45 of them would be dropped under the law being discussed by the parliament.
Clause 9 of the draft law states that pardons do not apply to those who have committed crimes of receiving or brokering corruption, in accordance with clauses 268 and 270.2 of the criminal law of Mongolia. However, the draft law grants pardons to those who work for a state-owned legal entity and have misused their power. The 45 cases that are currently under investigation have caused damage of 12.2 billion MNT to the government. If the law is passed, there would be no legal grounds to impose punishment on those who committed crimes before the time specified in the law, even if the investigations find them culpable.
Clause 4.3 of the draft law on amnesty says that pardons will release individuals from initial and additional sentences that were imposed on those who committed major crimes and are to be jailed for the first time. This fully applies to the corruption cases being investigated by the IAAC. It is the basic, ethical responsibility of lawmakers to not include crimes of abuse of power in the pardon law.
Clause 5.1.1 of the draft law says that pardons will remove three years from the remaining jail time for serious offenders. It would free several politicians who were found to be involved in sensational cases and pardon them from their corruption charges.
Also, Clause 6.1.1 of the draft law states that those who finished serving their sentences before the law was enacted will be freed from the remaining time required to clear the charges against them, in accordance with Clause 78.2 of the criminal law. The amnesty law would clear approximately 200 people who were imposed with sentences other than jail time, those on probation, or those with delayed sentences.
Clause 7.1 of the draft law says that those who are first-time serious offenders and whose cases are in the registration, investigation, or trial stage will be cleared of their charges.
The objective of a draft law that says “free those who have committed a crime from responsibilities” deserves attention. The pardons free the convicted from their responsibility to serve a sentence only. There are no legal grounds to convict or clear someone during the investigation stage. This is being overlooked in the current discussions. Also, they are not talking about whether the damages or consequences are being compensated or not when discussing pardons.
Clause 9.1.7 of the draft law says that those who have committed the crimes of receiving and brokering corruption will not be pardoned. Besides these two offenses, the crime of abuse of power should be added to the list. In particular, those who have committed crimes stated in clauses 263, 264, 265, and 266 of the criminal law must not be granted a pardon.
Having signed the international convention to fight corruption, Mongolia has been talking about how we are combating corruption and taking more substantive measures. Granting a pardon from a sentence must not free the person from the responsibility to provide compensation for the damages of their crime. Therefore, Clause 9 of the law on amnesty should include paying compensation in the requirements of receiving a pardon.
The amnesty law would pardon many people who received unfair sentences. It should not be done in bulk, but in groups. It is fair for Mongolia’s society to demand compensation if pardons are granted. However, Mongolia’s society clearly sees that it is not fair that the ruling political parties are operating under the principle of “exchanging spies” to free corrupt criminals from sentences and look faultless in the next election.
There is now a strong resemblance between Mongolian politicians and the three monkeys: one blocking his ears, one covering his eyes, and one covering his mouth.

Trans. by B.AMAR

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=15804

Posted by on Aug 16 2015. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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