Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ruling elite secure outside of the law

Members of the ruling elite, have recently been allegedly involved in major criminal acts, including a possible brutal murder, but are quick to accuse each other of flouting law.

President Yushchenko's son, Andriy allegedly recently repeatedly fired a hand gun in the direction of a former deputy minister of emergency affairs after a night-time road traffic altercation.

This is not the first time he has been involved in such an incident. Just over three years ago a member of Kyiv's prosecutor's office was allegedly assaulted and shot at by Andriy and his bodyguard, also following a road traffic carve-up.


Anonymous said...

What's at risk here is the supremacy of rule of law.

The right of an accused to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

The current political debate is beginning to look more and more like a political witch hunt and trial by media not a court of law.

The allegations made in both cases are serious and there appears to be a case to answer.

Parliamentary immunity does not prevent a member of parliament from being prosecuted.

Members of Parliament do not have absolute immunity. The level of immunity afforded to members of parliament is no different then the level of immunity afforded to judges.

The only person who holds absolute immunity is Yushchenko

Article 80 of Ukraine's Constitution states

People’s Deputies of Ukraine are guaranteed parliamentary immunity.

People’s Deputies of Ukraine are not legally liable for the results of voting or for statements made in Parliament and in its bodies, with the exception of liability for insult or defamation.

People’s Deputies of Ukraine shall not be held criminally liable, detained or arrested without the consent of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

If there is a case to answer then the parliament has an obligation to give consent thus removing any protection afforded by the limited immunity offered.

yes the system is open to abuse.

An accused person can use Parliamentary immunity to avoid immediate detention. But it does not prevent them from being prosecuted or a court of law making a judgment.

The President and or the Courts can restrict travel by cancelling a persons travel documents.

Rule of law and International Human Rights demand that the accused person(s) be given a proper trial and hearing.

They should not be tried by the media or the President seeking to score political points.

Yulia Tymoshenko rightfully has calling for the accused member to resign from the party pending the outcome of judicial review.
Should he refused to do so the next step is for the parliament to give consent. BUT it must be stressed that resignation and consent of the Parliament is not to be seen as implying any guilt.

The President's Constitutional right of absolute immunity does not extend to the President's son of his immediate family.

Andrei Yushchenko should also be given equal rights and the presumption of innocence but he also has a case to answer if the allegations are true.

Both should be brought before the courts

elmer said...

If there is to be "one law for all," there there should be NO parliamentary immunity, and no requirement of a vote to remove it. It makes no sense whatsoever to start with immunity for Parliament - that puts some people above the law.

That's not a democratic system - that's just corruption and special privileges for a few.

Anonymous said...

The law is there to prevent political harrassment. paerliamentary immunity is the same as that afforded to judges.

As a testiment to Yushenko's policies and flawed constitutional changes Judges immunity is still retains as is the President's immunity. In the President's case his immunity is absolute.

So Emler do you also oppose Presidential and judges immunity?

If not then why not? Why should the President hold absolute immunity? What is the difference?

Anonymous said...

Limited pParliamentary immunity as exists in Ukraine is common throughout most democratic nations.

So how is Ukraine's any different?

Yes it is backwards.

In most cases parliamentary immunity is restricted to statements and actions made within the parliament and in association with a members duties. Most notably is the right of unrestricted free speech.

In Ukraine's case Free speech within the debate is not included as part of the limited immunity. As stated above Politicans and Judges do not hold absolute immunity. The only right they hold is the right of Parliamentary sanction and consent. Please highlight where and when Parliament has ever refused to give consent to have immunity removed?

You say it is an issue but when has it become an issue? When has parliamentary immunity ever denied justice being served?

The truth is this is issue is a beat up a part of a political smear campaign based on false premises.

Apart from Yushchenko's illegal actions going unaddressed. (After all he is the only one who has absolute immunity) who has not been held to account for any allegation of crime and when has the parliament ever refused to grant consent to remove parliamentary immunity?

If Yushchenko could I guess he would have Yulia Tymoshenko arrested for some trumped up charge. But then this is what limited Parliamentary immunity is aimed to prevent. Its aim is to avoid the misuse and abuse of the legal system for political reasons.

USAID said...

A little outdated but worth reading.


A Summary of Case Studies of Armenia, Ukraine and Guatemala
August 2006

This document is a summary of a publication that was produced for review and funded by the United States Agency for International Development in February 2006. It was prepared by Development Alternatives, Inc., and reflects the views of the authors.
Parliamentary Immunity and Democracy Development 1
Practically all established and emerging democracies provide for some sort of immunity from prosecution for members of the legislature or parliament; often these rights are addressed in a country’s constitution. The legitimate purpose of immunity is to allow legislators to freely express themselves and adopt policy positions without fear of politically motivated retribution.