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Russian parliament passes a bill to further strengthen the immunity of the former president

Russian parliament passes a bill to further strengthen the immunity of the former president

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 12, 2020: A plenary meeting of the Russian Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian Parliament. Sergei Bobylev/TASS Ðîññèÿ. Ìîñêâà. ×ëåíû ÑÔ íà ïëåíàðíîì çàñåäàíèè Ñîâåòà Ôåäåðàöèè ÐÔ. Ñåðãåé Áîáûëåâ/ÒÀÑÑ

December 16 Russian media reported that the Russian Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) passed a bill on strengthening the protection of the immunity of the former Russian president at its plenary meeting on Wednesday (16th).

According to TASS news agency, the bill shows that the exemption of the former president’s immunity is now limited to the State Duma (the House of Commons) charges of treason or felony, which must be confirmed by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and the Constitutional Court. Based on these allegations, the upper house of parliament will have to make a decision to revoke the former president’s immunity.

According to current Russian law, if criminal proceedings are initiated against serious indictable felony or death penalty cases committed by the president during his tenure, the former head of state may be deprived of immunity. 

The procedure was initiated by the chairman of the Russian Commission of Inquiry, and the State Duma must give consent. The approved regulations are then sent to the upper house of parliament, and the committee has three months to consider depriving the former president of his immunity.

The report pointed out that at the initiative of at least one-third of the members of the House of Commons, the State Duma’s decision to issue charges and the Federal Council’s decision to revoke immunity must be approved by two-thirds of all Russian senators and deputies. And the conclusion of the special committee established by the State Duma. 

The House of Commons will have three months to make a decision to deprive the former president of his immunity. If no decision is made, the charges will be dismissed.

According to the bill, the former president can neither be held criminally responsible, nor can he bear administrative responsibility, nor can he be detained, arrested, interrogated or searched. 

After the passage of the bill, the restrictions on the immunity of former presidents only involved the following areas, namely, areas related to the exercise of powers, or areas related to the exercise of the power of the head of state.

Andrey Klishas, ​​chairman of the Constitution and State Construction Committee of the Council of the Russian Federation, pointed out that the bill was drafted to keep the legal provisions on guarantees to the former Russian president in sync with the constitutional amendments. 

The senator pointed out that the former president’s immunity refers to the immunity enjoyed by his residence and office, vehicles, communication methods, documents and luggage, and letters.

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