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The abolition of parliamentary immunity – expert opinion

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine (!), According to which parliamentary immunity was abolished.

It should be clarified that it is an inability to detain or arrest a deputy or report suspicion.

At the same time, after the amendments come into force, the deputies will have an indemnity, ie they will not be responsible for the results of voting and other forms of exercising the deputy’s powers.

What will this mean in practice? That the mandate is no longer a “shield” to avoid criminal prosecution, as has traditionally been the case in Ukraine. Therefore, I cannot disagree that the decision is historic.

As for the criticism, “unreformed law enforcement agencies, first and foremost the police, will begin to”infringe”MPs and undermine the foundations of democracy.” I think there is nothing to fear. First, the deputies themselves will pay more attention to criminal justice issues, for which they previously thoughtlessly cast their votes (remember the “Lozovy`s amendments” or investigators of the State Penitentiary Service, which who were declared unconstitutional). Secondly, the controlling bodies (both disciplinary and criminal, first and foremost of the SBI) will be better able to carry out their work in the event of complaints of unlawful detention, unjustified suspicion or other procedural violations / violations of human rights and freedoms. Because MPs will demand a proper investigation.

The changes will enter into force from January 1, 2020. By this time, it is necessary to amend the law on the status of People’s Deputy, CPC of Ukraine, etc. As the amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine were voted under a particular procedure, this has not been done before. In any case, the norms of the Constitution have the highest legal force. However, a special procedure for handing over suspicion or conducting the covert investigative actions  against a deputy is likely to be, since the Basic Law does not say anything about it.

So I congratulate you on this decision. This seems to be an incentive for everyone to do better – from MP to SBI investigator or prosecutor in such proceedings.

Any political and legal argument for maintaining / abolishing immunity is merely a prediction of the consequences. What happened to immunity – we’ve  seen already. What will happen without it – we will see. Again, this should be an impetus for the quality work of criminal justice authorities, as well as the completion of reforms.

After all, when it was necessary to prosecute “wrong” MPs, no one bothered such people as Yanukovych.

Eugene Krapyvin

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