An appeal for the individuals convicted for the murder of S.Zorig was denied on March 14, due to a lack of new evidence that could lead to their acquittal.
The murder of former Minister of Infrastructure and Member of Parliament S.Zorig was reinvestigated in response to a motion filed by his sister, former Member of Parliament S.Oyun. T.Chimgee and T.Sodnomdarjaa were found guilty of the murder in December 2016, and promptly filed for an appeal.
S.Oyun couldn’t attend the appeals hearing and had her brother, S.Bayar, attend in her place.
“I have two things to say. First, my sister didn’t refuse to attend today’s hearing. She’s on a business trip, so I’ve come as her substitute,” S.Bayar said about S.Oyun’s absence from the hearing. “Second, I ask that the trial be held openly.”
The defendants also asked the court for an open trial.
The hearing continued for several hours before Judge S.Soyombo-Erdene announced the court’s decision on the appeal. He noted that the re-opening of the S.Zorig murder case, a crime committed 19 years ago, was requested by S.Oyun and that it was carried out according to Article 308.2 of the Criminal Procedures Code.
“Evidence from the crime scene was taken into custody according to the law and relevant procedures. Nobody’s legal rights were violated during the seizure of evidence, and we haven’t found any basis to claims that evidence was tampered with or illegally obtained,” the judge said.
The court believed that records of the interrogations of B.Sodnomdarjaa and Ts.Amgalanbaatar, B.Sodnomdarjaa’s written statement, statements from witnesses, records of evidence found at the crime scene, notes from a search party, and the verification of statements, and forensic reports were found to be consistent throughout the investigation.
Judge S.Soyombo-Erdene added that witnesses were able to immediately identify B.Sodnomdarjaa, Ts.Amgalanbaatar, and T.Chimgee, and that follow-up investigations proved their presence at the crime scene on the night of the murder, making them prime suspects for S.Zorig’s murder. The court decision emphasized that the investigation of the crime was conducted legally, and that appropriate sentences were given to the assailants.
Although a separate case has been opened to investigate claims that the murder of S.Zorig was pre-meditated and ordered, the judges ruled that a new case would not affect the court’s decisions on the prison sentences given to Ts.Amgalanbaatar, B.Sodnomdarjaa, and T.Chimgee. The sentencing was determined to be applied in accordance with Article 246.1 of the Criminal Procedures Code, which states: “the examination of a case in court shall be carried out only with respect to the defendant and only within the case upon which s/he has been brought to trial”.
“Everything related to the case has been reinvestigated according to the Criminal Procedures Code. The appeals of the convicts, their attorneys, and the victim’s family to reinvestigate and overrule the court’s decision have been denied,” Judge S.Soyombo-Erdene announced.
The state’s prosecutors say they thoroughly reviewed all reports and records concerning the case, including witness statements, and made some changes to information they found to be incorrect.
They said that Ts.Amgalanbaatar and B.Sodnomdarjaa’s motive for the homicide wasn’t to “conceal and simplify another crime” but to only “conceal another crime”. Ts.Amgalanbaatar was reportedly interrogated according to Article 24.1.3 of the Criminal Code, not Article 24.1.2, and M.Munkhjargal was omitted from the list of victims of the crime, as she was later identified as only being a witness.