MOSCOW, November 17. /TASS/. The Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) has passed the bill to change the order of stripping immunity from former presidents in its first reading, ensuring its compliance with the amended constitution.
Immunity of an ex-president can now be taken away if a criminal case is opened to investigate if they committed a serious indictable offence when in office. The procedure is initiated by the chair of the Russian Investigative Committee by submitting the relevant proposal to the State Duma which agrees to strip the immunity. The resolution is later referred to the Federation Council (upper house) which is to consider the issue within three months.
However, the amended constitution reads that president can be impeached, and ex-president can be stripped of immunity by the Federation Council only on the basis of charges of high treason or another grave crime, advanced by the State Duma and confirmed by the conclusion of the Supreme Court and the Russian Constitutional Court.
The proposed amendments stipulate that former president’s immunity can be taken away if the State Duma puts forward accusations of high treason or other serious indictable offence. They will have to be later confirmed by the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court in accordance with due procedure. Based on these accusations, the Federation Council will decide whether to strip the immunity.
The State Duma and the Federation Council should secure two-thirds of votes in each chamber to present the accusations and strip immunity. The upper house will have three months to review the resolution. If it fails to do so, the accusations are considered rejected.
The former president facing these accusations can take part in the meetings of the both chambers reviewing the issue.
The bill also clarified that former presidents cannot be prosecuted on criminal or administrative charges, detained, arrested, searched or interrogated. As of now, these restrictions are only linked to actions in office or investigations into cases related to fulfilling presidential duties.