Has court breached former Prime Minister’s parliamentary immunity?

2020-06-18 20:12:04

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. Days of campaigning for the 2020 parliamentary election of Mongolia where a total of 606 candidates from political parties and coalitions and independent candidates are running in, are about to come to an end. 


What has aroused concerns during this legislative election is that a handful of candidates now has to campaign while being held in custody. The court has issued arrest warrants for candidates who had already received their candidacy cards in the middle of the ongoing election campaigning, including former Prime Minister, Member of Parliament J.Erdenebat, former MP N.Nomtoibayar, candidates Kh.Bat-Yalalt, D.Ganbold, S.Bayartsogt and B.Byambasaikhan.  


The public has been taken aback by these unprecedented measures that have never happened in the democratic and political history of Mongolia. Because without consent from the General Election Commission, it is legally prohibited to conduct a criminal investigation and apprehend or detain any candidate who is approved to run for Parliamentary elections. 

The lawyers of the candidates who have been put under arrest during their campaigning for the upcoming election all claim that the arrests have violated the law. In particular, the question arises as to whether the court has breached the Parliamentary immunity by arresting MP and former PM J.Erdenebat, whose immunity has not been removed, (In accordance with the Law on State Great Khural of Mongolia, the mandate of a member of the State Great Khural shall expire when newly elected members of the State Great Khural are sworn in) only as per the decision by Sukhbaatar District Criminal Court in Ulaanbaatar city, without having any parliamentarian decision if his immunity should be revoked. 

It is against the law to arrest members of parliament unless they are caught in the act of committing a criminal act. If a parliamentary member is needed to be investigated for crimes, the prosecutor’s office shall submit their request to the parliament to have the parliamentary immunity of the member waived. However, in this case, the issue whether the immunity of parliament member J.Erdenebat should be lifted or not had not been discussed by the State Great Khural (parliament), and he was arrested without even the consent from the General Election Commission, central election body in charge of organizing this election. 


Therefore, Parliament Speaker G.Zandanshatar described this situation as an act of rude breach of valid and effective laws of the independent country with parliamentary system, and has demanded from all relevant judicial organizations and judges an immediate stop to the illegal action of violating the parliamentary immunity and the right to be elected of the citizen of Mongolia J.Erdenebat as this act committed by the court and judges are violating the Constitution of Mongolia, Law on State Great Khural and Law on Parliamentary Election.  


Moreover, the Human Rights Commission has also issued a statement on this matter, reminding that the arrest during the election will be followed by negative consequences as democracy and human rights situation in Mongolia would be unfavorably evaluated by international community and the commission demanded to put an end to the illegal act.