On reinstating the death penalty

January 10th, 2018


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65 min

Abolishing the death penalty was not the right decision, as Mongolia still needs a more stabilized and mature society, as stated by the President of Mongolia, Kh.Battulga, on 16th of October, 2017.

Shortly after, the President submitted his official proposal to reinstate the death penalty to the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs (MOJHA).  Ever since, there has been ongoing public debate and disagreement over which direction would most benefit the country.

Aiming to organize the most practical, research-based and constructive discussion on death penalty, we aired the Defacto Debate on 28th of December, 2017, on VTV.  President Kh.Battulga’s Civil Society and Human Rights Advisor, G.Uyanga, represented the affirmative side, while Amnesty International Mongolia’s Managing Board  Director, B.Bolorsaikhan, took part advocated for the negative side.

Following the United Nations General Assembly’s call for a global moratorium on executions in 2007, 104 countries voted in favour of the resolution, while 54 retained the use of the death penalty and 29 others remain abolitionists in practice. Mongolia was among those who joined the call for a moratorium, and the President at the time in January, 2009, Ts.Elbegdorj, vowed in parliament not to impose the death penalty, and until now, such penalty has not been imposed in Mongolia.

Reinstating the death penalty is RIGHT

President Kh.Battulga’s advisor G.Uyanga affirmed that the decision to abolish the death penalty in Mongolia was made without sufficient comprehensive research and assessment, and has had no positive effect other than elevating the reputation of President Ts.Elbegdorj. G.Uyanga believes that the abolition didn’t suit reality, and said  that these concerns were clearly explained in the letter to MOJHA. Below is a summary of the points that she made for reinstating the death penalty.

  • An increase in child sexual abuse, harassment, and murder cases caused a shock in society.  The National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia (NHRCM) reported that 298 young children aged from two to seven have fallen victim to child sexual abuse in 2015 and 2016.
  • The state should not consider victimized children’s rights to be at same level as the rights of those committing the abuse. It is a wonder what exact levels of crimes there should be.  Mongolian authorities should do everything possible to avoid such crimes in the future. Each case where young children have been sexually abused has to be publicized.
  • We are talking about how an abuser has the right to live. Then where are the rights of a victim who died of sexual abuse?
  • Law simply means that the offenders will be sentenced with an appropriate penalty based on the crimes they have committed. That is the way to build justice in society. Fully compensating the victims is impossible despite all the penalties imposed for the offenders. However, each criminal must face the punishment that they deserve. Here lies the significance of law itself.
  • President Kh.Battulga met with responsible organizations and collected information on the causes of the increase in crime rates, as well as ways to cut crime. After studying and assessing many diverse positions, the decision was made to suggest the reinstatement of the death penalty. In addition, the Constitution of Mongolia’s Clause 1 of Article 16 states “Deprivation of human life shall be strictly prohibited unless capital punishment is imposed by due judgment of the Court for the most serious crimes, pursuant to Mongolian Criminal law.” Also, Clause 4 of Article 10 clearly says “Mongolia shall not abide by any international treaty or other instruments incompatible with its Constitution.”

Reinstating the death penalty is WRONG

  • Researcher B.Bolorsaikhan, however, linked poor economic stability and rising poverty among citizens to the root cause of crimes. As stated in the Constitution, “The State shall be responsible to citizens for the creation of economic, social, legal and other guarantees ensuring human rights and freedoms…” . The state is not fulfilling its responsibility regarding this clause.
  • Mongolia vowed to keep “aspiring toward the supreme objective of building a human, civil and democratic society in our homeland” in the preamble of the Constitution. To do that, human rights and freedoms must be guaranteed, and the accomplishments of human civilization must be respected and fully implemented in the country.  The global tendency towards abolition of the death penalty has grown consistently stronger in the last 40 years. As of now, no definitive study has proven anywhere that executions have contributed to a decrease in murder or rape cases in any country.  
  • If a person has committed a crime, he or she must face the consequences and penalties for it. The law must serve every person equally. However, the Mongolian court system is not very promising in fulfilling its duties, and has passed numerous poor decisions, which confirms that the death penalty is not an optimal solution. Before saying “yes” to executions, the state has to focus on acting on its commitment and duties.
  • The NHRCM has repeatedly advised to abolish the death penalty. Mongolia as a state is bound to follow its responsibilities within international treaties. Mongolian professional organizations closely study the contents of any international treaties and check whether they can be applied, as well as make sure they do not conflict with the Constitution in the country before joining and approving any treaty. Careful studies were also made prior to joining the global moratorium on executions. This resolution is another judicial document that is as effective in Mongolia as the Constitution.


The proposal to reinstate the death penalty, submitted to the MOJHA is not a final decision. To approve the reinstatement, the Parliament of Mongolia has to pass the proposal, and then pass a law on it. Only then, will the new law on reinstatement be fully effective. The government will discuss the proposal first before submitting to the Parliament.

But we, the citizens, can also impact the parliament to make a practical, and wise decision if we study the impact of the death penalty and gain a clear idea by publicly discussing the issue.

This is the simplest, yet the most powerful way to implement true democracy.


Trans. By M.Zoljargal

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