Instead of actual abolition of the MPs’ immunity, the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada decided to strengthen it

On December 16, the Law Enforcement Committee prepared the draft law No. 2237 for the second reading regarding actual abolition of the parliamentary immunity. However, instead of promised improvements, members of the Committee significantly worsened the version and complicated some stages of investigation regarding Members of Parliament. Even if we compare to the way it is done now.

Members of Parliament left norms according to which only the Prosecutor General could initiate the criminal proceeding against the Member of Parliament. This means that only one person will be able to submit information about the crime to the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations.

This means that initiation of the case regarding any crime of the Member of Parliament will depend on the Prosecutor General.

“In practice, if the Prosecutor General does not want to, then no one else will even be able to open the investigation. If investigators do not know at the beginning of the investigation that the crime was committed by the Member of Parliament and reach such conclusions in six months, then all the evidence that had been gathered before that would be at risk of not being taken into account in the court”, states the Board Member of the Anti-Corruption Action Center Olena Shcherban.

It should be noted that according to current norms of the Criminal Procedure, any investigator or prosecutor can initiate the criminal proceeding against the Member of Parliament under the condition of presence the immunity.

It is important that the Law Enforcement Committee rejected its own decision, where it promised to give the right to initiate investigations to other bodies.

Another very dangerous innovation, which was agreed today by the Law Enforcement Committee, is that Members of Parliament suggest that most of investigators’ requests at the pre-trial stage should be considered in the mandatory presence of the Member of Parliament.

That means that if the investigator wants to receive access to bank documents of the Member of Parliament, he will not be able to do so until the Member of Parliament comes to the court himself. Similarly, the investigator will not be able to arrest, for instance, the weapon that is the instrument of crime or proceeds of crime.

At present, the investigating judge may consider such requests in absence of subjects of the case, for instance, if there is a risk of destruction of documents, property or evidence due to the awareness of the Member of Parliament with such request.

We should remind that the Verkhovna Rada approved this draft law in the first reading at the beginning of December

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