Mongolia establishes moratorium on executions

Monday, January 18, 2010

File photo of Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj from May 2009.
Image: Majigsuren Nyamsaikhan.

Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj has announced a moratorium on executions, and will begin to seek their abolition. On January 14, 2010, in a speech to parliament, Elbegdorj announced that he would pardon all persons sentenced to death, stating that most countries in the world had abolished the death penalty, and Mongolia should follow suit. He also suggested that the death penalty be replaced with a 30 year prison sentence.

The decision was controversial: when Elbegdorj finished his speech, representatives of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party refused to join in the applause, which is customary after a presidential address to parliament.

Human rights groups welcomed the move, with Amnesty International expressing hope that Mongolia will vote in favour of an upcoming United Nations resolution calling for an end to Capital punishment. It also urged other nations in the region to abolish the death penalty.

Many members of Mongolia's opposition-led parliament favour harsh punishments for criminals, and Elbegdorj must gain approval from parliament before the death penalty can be abolished. If Elbegdorj fails to be re-elected, the new president could end the moratorium, and executions could resume.


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