New steps laid out for the justice system
A wide range of innovations and reform are being made in the legal and law enforcement spheres at the initiative of the President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj. The draft pack bill initiated by the President, has been approved through the Parliament, or State Great Khural, and will be implemented soon in full scale. The next step for the initiative, innovations in the structure of the existing justice system, will soon be launched.
Before the innovations and reforms are put into place, several laws will be amended. Accordingly, discussions about the draft bill on Criminal Law took place between law enforcement officials and the court sector at the Civil Hall of the President of Mongolia last Friday.
The Amnesty Law has been applied four times in the past decade, releasing some 2,000-4,000 prisoners each time, however, the number of convicts and prisoners still hasn’t decreased. Lawyers believe that Mongolia law is ineffective, as the crime rate has increased by five percent while the number of inmates rose by 18-20 percent. A decision was made to make reforms to the Criminal Code. A draft bill is being developed, renaming the Criminal Code the “Law on Crimes.” The newly developed draft bill on crime aims to make vested changes in securing human rights and freedom, and includes provisions to re-classify cases related to corruption and misconduct. The present Criminal Code is not capable of resolving financial crime and unfair monopolies but the new law will include those issues.
At the discussions G. Erdenebat, deputy of the State General Prosecutor, introduced the draft bill on crime. The next step for reforms in the court and legal system, which have been undergoing reforms since 2009, is the system of justice and innovations presented in the Criminal Code, stressed G. Erdenebat. The Deputy State Prosecutor defines the new draft bill on crime as being able to implement the pledge of the President, “to bend the corrupt and straighten the back of the public,” through innovations in the criminal justice system. The current legal system, adopted in 1992 to preserve the values of the democratic constitution, will be improved. The time has come to protect the values that were declared in the constitution. Mongolia will follow criminal law that truly combats crime.
The draft bill on crime legally defines 68 types of crimes, including domestic violence and intentionally inflating market prices for goods. Law makers have also revised policy on sentencing minors as adults, ruining rather than rehabilitating young offenders. The new law includes opportunities for acquittal in cases where the convict completely repays damages, the protection of victims and witnesses, and jailing individuals based on the severity of their crimes as felonies or minor offenses.
Arrangements will also be made to evaluate the length of prison sentences from a month to 20 years, considering that the detention alone is not always the most effective sentence. The draft bill states that when life sentences are imposed, they should be sentences of at least 20 years.
The draft bill includes principles in great contrast to existing law; an individual can only be charged once for a single offense or crime; eliminating follow-up discussion terms in international crime; more definitive language against capital punishment; and strengthening the enforcement of the International Criminal Code so that the accused is brought to justice even when the court has no capacity or interest in charging a foreign offender in accordance with domestic jurisdiction and law.
New types of crime, crimes involving information security, corruption and misconduct, will be clearly defined and a new chapter (Crimes Against Cultural Heritage) will be included in the new law in accordance with the state policy to preserve and protect historical cultural heritage and archeological, geological and paleontological findings and extraordinary treasures. The new law also includes a new chapter on financial crime, which includes the use of illegal monopoly, creating artificial shortages, bankruptcy fraud, tax evasion, illegal conduct by banks and financial operations, intellectual property theft and violation of trade secrets, avoidance of social welfare payments, and insurance, loan and credit fraud.
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