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Criminal Justice and Public Security

The Mongol legal heritage, based on a nomadic pastoral culture, first was unified and codified in the yasaq. The yasaq, promulgated in 1229, contained directives on state administration and military discipline, criminal law, private law, and special customs for the steppe region. It served as a basis for a more extensive legal code during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368).

With the breakup of the Mongol empire, Mongol tribes returned to earlier customs. In 1640 an alliance of Mongol princes drafted the Mongol-Oirad Regulations, characterized by the strong influence of Lamaism and by considerably milder punishments than foreign codes of the time or previous Mongol codes. Under Qing Dynasty rule, Mongol laws and customs were combined with Chinese law.

In an effort to improve on some of the harsher aspects of the criminal justice system, the Mongolian government, in 1922, abolished various investigative tortures and corporal punishments left over from the Qing period. A November 1925 law on judicial reform provided that courts were to be guided by new laws and that punishment should be to protect public order and to reeducate criminals. The old system remained in effect, however, except when superseded by the new regulations.

The first criminal code of the Mongolian People's Republic, adopted on October 21, 1926, established a statutory basis for the control of crime and disorder. It consisted of 227 articles in 31 chapters, and it applied extensive criminal regulations and sanctions to citizens and foreigners. That code was replaced on September 23, 1929, by a new criminal code with modifications reflecting the political struggle taking place in Mongolia at that time (see Purges of the Opposition, 1928-32). The 1929 code remained in effect for five years. It was replaced by the 1934 criminal code, which was adopted in two stages - the general part, confirmed on May 24, 1934, and a special part, confirmed on October 8, 1934, that expanded the scope of "counterrevolutionary" crimes and added a chapter on military crimes. The 1934 code was in turn replaced on January 17, 1942, by a code reflecting the changes in society and the influences of World War II. The 1942 code remained in effect, with numerous amendments, until January 31, 1961, when the code still in use in 1989 was confirmed.

Mongolia's first constitution, adopted by the National Great Hural on November 26, 1924, established a state structure, including courts and procuraturates, based on the Soviet system. The 1924 constitution was replaced by the 1940 constitution, closely modeled on the 1936 Soviet constitution. The 1940 constitution was replaced by the Constitution adopted on July 6, 1960. Later amendments to the 1960 Constitution increased the terms of Supreme Court members and procurators from three to four years and the terms of the members of city and people's courts from two to three years (see Constitutional Framework).

Last Update: 2010-12-07