Press Note

Unresolved Mongolian assassination questions faith in rule of law

Geneva, 21 September 2015
Zorig Sanjasuuren was considered by many to be the father of democracy in Mongolia when he was killed. ©Zorig Foundation

Despite 25 years of democratic progress in Mongolia, the unresolved assassination of parliamentarian and former Minister of Infrastructure Zorig Sanjasuuren 17 years ago is eroding confidence in the rule of law, says an Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) human rights mission to the Asian country.

A just-concluded four-day mission to Mongolia led by Swiss parliamentarian and member of IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, Margret Kiener Nellen, is calling for the Mongolian authorities to redouble their efforts to resolve what is widely believed to have been a political assassination.

Sanjasuuren, considered by many as the father of democracy in Mongolia, was brutally murdered at his home in October 1998.

The perpetrators have still not been brought to justice despite an ongoing investigation since his death. The lack of progress on the case has been a source of concern for the IPU Committee, which has been engaging with Mongolian authorities over the years to shed more light on the investigation.

The IPU mission met parliamentary, government and judicial authorities as well as political parties, law enforcement entities, human rights organizations, family members and diplomats for talks in Ulaanbaatar over four days. It welcomed the authorities’ cooperation and willingness to engage. The mission, however, underlined the importance of progress to public confidence.

“Only transparency on the investigation and real progress on the case will reassure people that there is a political will to find out who killed Zorig Sanjasuuren and why,” says Margret Kiener Nellen. “As Mongolia celebrates the 25th anniversary of the first democratic elections in the country, it would be an ideal time to finally resolve the killing of the man who had led the democratic movement in the 1990s.”

IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians provides protection and redress for MPs whose human rights have been violated or who are at risk.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the global organization of national parliaments. It works to safeguard peace and drives positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action.

For further information, contact: Jemini Pandya, Tel: +41 22 919 4158 / +41 79 217 3374, e-mail: