A delegation of the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians has expressed deep concern about the flawed justice, torture and intimidation in the investigation of the 1998 assassination of the parliamentarian and Minister of Infrastructure Zorig Sanjasuuren. Sanjasuuren is regarded by many as the leader of the democratic movement in Mongolia in the early 1990s.
At the end of a three-day mission from 11-13 September 2017, the IPU delegation confirmed concerns that the trial and conviction of three individuals for the assassination of Sanjasuuren violated international fair-trial standards and further undermined the legitimacy and integrity of the judicial process.
The secrecy of the investigation, trial and court decisions has created a climate of suspicion and rumours. Secret evidence was not accessible to the prosecutor’s office or to legal counsel. According to the IPU delegation, this has made it impossible to ensure respect for the right to a fair trial.
The leader of the delegation, Afghani MP, Ms. Fawzia Koofi, stated, “We are concerned about recurrent and credible reports about the use of torture and corruption to divert the course of justice in this case. We are shocked that such reports do not appear to have been seriously addressed by the judicial authorities through independent, credible and transparent procedures.”
Ms. Koofi added “We are also worried about continued intimidation that makes it difficult for those taking an interest in the case to voice these concerns publicly without fear of arrest. People’s right to speak freely about the case should be fully respected. ”
In its dialogue with the authorities the IPU delegation met, it called for the judiciary to remedy the existing serious flaws by ordering a public re-trial in the presence of domestic and international observers. There is an urgent need to establish the truth.
The IPU delegation regrets that it was not allowed to meet the convicts in prison or members of the Supreme Court. It nonetheless notes that it was able to hold constructive discussions with all other relevant parliamentary, executive and judicial authorities. It hopes that this dialogue will continue and contribute to appropriate solutions in the near future.
The IPU delegation reminds the Mongolian authorities of the decision adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council during its 200th session in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 5 April 2017.
The IPU delegation, comprising President Koofi and member, Al Alaradi, an MP from Bahrain, will inform the full Committee of its preliminary findings at its next session in October.
The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians provides protection and redress for MPs whose human rights have been violated or who are at risk. Examining the case since 2000, the Committee has made three fact-finding visits and taken 50 decisions as part of its investigation into the assassination of Zorig Sanjasuuren. The IPU Committee promises to never give up until justice is served.
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