Parliamentary immunity: are MPs to abandon it and what prevents to make the law

Today 288 members of the Verkhovna Rada supported the removal of the parliamentary immunity of Mikhail Dobkin.

Earlier, the General Prosecutor of Ukraine Yury Lutsenko reported that the actions of the people’s Deputy Mikhail Dobkin seen signs of deliberate arrangement by group of persons for abuse of office and promoting fraud to seize 78 hectares of land in Kharkiv regulatory cost of more than 220 million UAH.

“The consequence considers that in actions of head of the Kharkiv mayor Dobkin has signs of assistance in the fraud and embezzlement of municipal property in especially large sizes”, – said Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko during meeting of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on rules on Wednesday in Kiev.

Dobkin, in turn, were strongly against his detention and arrest, as he considers such claims to be unfounded.

  • See also: Sweatpants and sneakers: Dobkin took in Parliament, “alarming suitcase”

Offer Poroshenko and legal conflict

Last week the Committee considered the performance of the GPU on the removal of immunity of five MPs. After this “series” (as it was called by themselves the people’s representatives) “untouchables”, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko once again called on the Parliament to deprive deputies ‘ immunity, calling it “an anachronism”. MPs say they are ready to support the abolition of immunity, but it is unclear how to do it – the current bill cannot be taken because of the legal conflicts, and work on a new one is not conducted.

Congratulating Ukrainians on Constitution Day at the monument to Pylyp Orlyk, the author of the first Ukrainian Basic law, Petro Poroshenko said the draft changes to the Constitution regarding the inviolability ready, we can make it.

My project of amendments to the Constitution is ready, it requires political will from the people’s deputies once and for all themselves equal rights with the citizens of Ukraine

“Just as we lifted the immunity of judges. I hope that elected officials in the near future will take the appropriate decision, because among them, probably no one, whoever promised the abolition of this immunity in their electoral programs,” – said Poroshenko.

Now the Constitution and law prohibit law enforcement agencies even investigative actions with the deputies to carry out. If the MP something is suspected, first, the GPU needs to send appropriate representation to the regulatory Committee. If he agrees, the question of the removal of the Deputy of inviolability shall be made in the hall. In addition, if the prosecution has reason to believe that the suspect might abscond to another country, it supplies a separate representation for the arrest and detention of the Deputy.

All remember that in January last year, Parliament considered the performance of the GPU faction Serhiy Klyuev. Then hall gave consent only for the lifting of his immunity. For the arrest and detention of MPs did not vote, which gave the loan opportunity to flee abroad.

  • See also: View to the removal of immunity: who and why is interested in the Prosecutor General’s office

Tuesday from all five views of the GPU the session hall supported only three, and then some. MPs stripped of immunity already independent Borislav Rosenblat (he was expelled from the BPP during the investigation), Oles Dovgy from the “Will of the people” and Maxim Polyakov of the NF, but voted for the arrest of Rosenblat and Polyakov.

  • See also: Lutsenko promises after the parliamentary recess to file a re-submission to the deputies of Dade and Lozovoy

Not the first attempt

Still in January of 2015, the President submitted to Parliament the bill No. 1776 on amendments to the Constitution, which deprived of inviolability of deputies and judges. The document was included in the agenda and sent for assessment by the constitutional court. Part of its provisions relating to the removal of immunity of judges were adopted by the Parliament exactly a year ago during the voting of the draft amendments to the law on the part of justice. Again, according to deputies, the bill can not be accepted.

Today we can’t vote for this law, it is necessary to make changes, because the part that applies to judges, have already been changed in the Constitution

“The Constitution and the law on rules of procedure do not allow between the first and second reading to amend the bill that passed the constitutional court. If we make some changes, logically we should again send the draft to the constitutional court. That’s why today we can’t vote for this law, it is necessary to make changes, because the part that applies to judges, have already been changed in the Constitution,” – said the “Today” people’s Deputy from fraction “Radical party” Yuriy Chizhmar.

The people’s Deputy from BPP Valery Karpuntsov in an interview with “Today” suggested that the bill No. 1776 is possible to withdraw the rules relating to the immunity of judges, and resubmit the assessment to the COP. Then the Parliament will be able to adopt the presidential draft. According to the MP from NF, member of the working group of the Constitutional Commission on justice Leonid Yemets to split the bill No. 1776 on two separate (for the inviolability of judges and deputies), we need the insights of a number of expert departments, including BP. “If they say that it is technically impossible to split the bill, we will need to start a new procedure: to submit a new bill to send it back for evaluation of the COP (and take two readings on two different sessions. – Ed.)”, said Yemets.

That in the current situation there is a legal conflict, said the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Andrew Parubiy. The speaker admits that the Parliament will have to make a new draft law on the abolition of parliamentary immunity. Meanwhile, he said, “we are in final legal advice.”

Perhaps it is necessary to introduce a new bill, as the old one has lost its relevance due to the fact that part of it had already been passed

“Perhaps it is necessary to introduce a new bill, as the old one has lost its relevance due to the fact that part of it had already been passed,” – said the Chairman of BP.

He added that, knowing the will and public position of political factions, in the presence of the legal background and decisions of the relevant Committee on this issue, it will immediately bring the issue of abolition of parliamentary immunity for a vote in the session hall of the Parliament.

Indeed, the Deputy corps stands ready to support the abolition of immunity. However, along with these MPs propose to strengthen the rights of MP to, for example, are unable to prosecute for the vote, statements from the podium, etc, according to the Deputy head of the Constitutional Commission Victor Musiyaki, you can use as the basis for 3-4 h article 126, which deals with the immunity of judges.

“Without the consent of the High Council of justice, a judge may not be detained or held in custody or arrest before a conviction by a court, with the exception of the arrest of a judge during or immediately after committing a grave or especially grave crime. The judge cannot be prosecuted for accepting the judgment, except for offence or disciplinary offence” – referred to in part 3-4 of article 126 of the Constitution.

That is, according to Musiyaki, the rules of article 126 can be applied to the MPs, with only one caveat. “Now article 80 of the Constitution provides that MPs are not responsible for the results of voting or statements in the Parliament and its bodies, with the exception of liability for insult or defamation. Look, we have a long time no national law on bringing to criminal responsibility for insult or libel. We have a responsibility for the humiliation of honor and dignity. And in the presidential bill (No. 1776. – Ed.) the rate of prosecution for insult or libel is. This needs to be corrected”, – said Viktor Musiyaka.

MPs generally agree with Muzykoy. However, according to them, in the current realities left behind by the Verkhovna Rada the right to consent to the arrest and detention of deputies it is impossible that the suspects were not hiding from law enforcement agencies in foreign counties.

In any case, according to parliamentarians, to date, no work on the division of the existing draft law on lifting of parliamentary immunity, or the development of a new not conducted. Deputies are predicting that this issue could be voted on in the fall of 2017, if not later.