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Mongolia: President to end Death Penalty

President Tsakhia Elbegdorj of Mongolia

On 14th January 2010, the Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj addressed the State Great Khural and explained his opposition to the death penalty. All death sentences in Mongolia have to be approved by the President, so his opposition represents an effective moratorium until the issue is voted on by the Mongolian Parliament.

Citing several reasons, including the risk of executing innocent people, corruption among those who pass death sentences, the grief of offenders’ families, the value of human life and Mongolia’s place in the world among abolitionist nations, President Elbegdorj made an elegant plea to end capital punishment. Here is an extract from his speech:

…There are mistakes we just can’t afford to make. There are mistakes which can be prevented only by closing the doors. The death penalty is one. Without fully abolishing it, we cannot completely do away with miscarriages of justice surrounding this form of penalty. Only when the death penalty is abolished, shall we be able to genuinely enhance the value of human life and human rights and create conditions to safeguard them…

…The road democratic Mongolia has to take ought to be clean and bloodless…

As far as Mongolia is concerned, we lack information on executions; if there are records, they are in the form of arbitrary observations. Mongolia is the worst record keeper on the matter. This is our reality. To make this speech today before Parliament, I received information from relevant organizations and officials. There were discrepancies in those data on capital punishment. This is one of the issues that worries me gravely.

…Justice cannot be practiced in an environment of hidden information, without transparency…

…After the sentence is executed, issues arise about the body of the executed person. This is a serious issue. The body is not given to the family of the executed. While the State imposes its utmost and gravest punishment to the offender, it must not punish the dead body of the offender and his family…

…Mongols have fought through many decades and centuries to secure our freedom, independence and sovereignty. In 2011 we will mark the centenary of Mongolia’s restoration of our independence and freedom. Freedom and independence of any country is measured by the freedoms and liberties, and self-sustaining power of its individual citizens. I ask my people, the people of Mongolia to make a present to ourselves on this auspicious centennial of our country – let us become a country where a citizen is not deprived of life by the State, and more precisely, as a democratic country, let us be a people where a citizen is not killed by another citizen.

Mongolia is a dignified country, both in terms of the legacies of our history, and in the way we practice freedom. And our citizens are dignified people. Therefore, I ask Mongolia to put behind us this death penalty which degrades our dignity…

To read the full speech, please click here.

About Linda Scott

Linda Scott
Linda Scott is Editor in Chief, and a founder of, The Global Herald.

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