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Mongolia on the Brink of Abolition

Following last week’s momentous announcement that Mongolia had ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aimed at abolishing the death penalty, Death Penalty Worldwide has updated its entry for Mongolia.

Mongolia’s March 13 ratification of the Second Optional Protocol is the culmination of President Elbegdorj’s steadfast commitment to abolishing the death penalty in his country.  President Elbegdorj began commuting death sentences in June of 2009 and announced an executive moratorium on executions in January of 2010.  On January 14, 2010, in a landmark speech he gave before the Great Khural (the Mongolian Parliament), President Elbegdorj stated eight reasons for rejecting the death penalty and adopting the principle of systematically pardoning death-sentenced offenders. These reasons included the irreparable nature of any judicial error, the historical use of the death penalty as a means to effect political purges in Mongolia, the international community’s calls for universal abolition, and the demonstrable failure of the death penalty’s deterrent effect. In President Elbegdorj’s words, capital punishment is “a degradation of human dignity” which affords no relief to victims and brings no peace to society.

Despite initial internal resistance to the President’s abolitionist position, on January 5, 2012, the Great Khural passed a bill to ratify the Second Optional Protocol by a large majority. The Protocol is to enter into force on June 13, 2012. Although Mongolia has not yet repealed its criminal laws providing for capital punishment, it appears unlikely that Mongolia will resume its use of the death penalty in the near future.

Our updated research on the death penalty in Mongolia is available here.