Savchenko renounced parliamentary immunity: Bluff or political game

Author : Vadym Kolodiychuk

Source : 112 Ukraine

The immunity of Ukrainian MPs might be annulled together with their deputy IDs
19:07, 22 February 2017

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Nadia Savchenko decided to become closer to the people. The MP feels tired of her parliamentary immunity, and now she wants to give up her special status. But my skepticism, which for decades has been carefully nurtured by the outstanding statements of the Ukrainian politicians, suggests that this news will be another “loud” political statement. And Savchenko would receive immunity, being a people's deputy.

Even if we forget how many pre-electional slogans were said, it is still the impression that Savchenko will remain untouched.

Related: Savchenko asks procedural committee to consider her refusal of parliamentary immunity

Firstly, Savchenko’s post on Facebook is perceived as a grandstanding. It is not surprising: if you want to attract attention, say something that people may really love. This is a popular method in Ukrainian politics. And if you remember that the People's Deputy is creating her own faction without having its own party, we can trace the real political strategists in her activities. Still, not everyone even remembers the name of Savchenko’s party, as well as her party members. Although only two months ago, she presented her party in the air of all our news channels.

Related: Political turbulence: which fate awaits Savchenko?

Secondly, privilege of Parliament is not a coat, you cannot just take it off as soon as you want. And citing two articles of the Constitution or writing a post in Facebook is not enough for its annulment. I am not a lawyer, but even I think that two articles, cited by Savchenko cannot be grounds for annulling immunity. Yes, Articles 5 and 80 of the Constitution do exist, so what? Because otherwise every Ukrainian could write a letter to the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada with the argument that "the bearer of sovereignty and the only source of power in Ukraine is the people. The people exercise power directly and through bodies of state power, and through the bodies of local self-government" (Article 5) and "People's deputies of Ukraine are get parliamentary immunity. The People's deputies of Ukraine are not legally liable for the results of voting or for statements made in parliament and its bodies, with the exception of liability for insult or defamation. People's deputies cannot be detained, arrested or prosecuted without the consent of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine" (article 80). Everyone is equal before the Constitution, and if the MPs can use it in such a way, then why cannot the voter, "the only source of power in Ukraine," as a representative of the people, do the same way. This is not that easy. In addition, there are still regulations of the Verkhovna Rada, but not all MPs know about such a procedure.

Related: SBU: Savchenko’s lists do not correspond to reality

Therefore Savchenko’s desire to annul her parliamentary immunity does not mean that she will succeed, because she does not make the decision herself. First Regulation Committee, then the vote under the dome, and her desire is just one of the necessary 226 votes. Savchenko is unique among all the deputies, so no one would play into her hands.  

Related: Savchenko: I never said Crimea should be given up, as it is lost already

Related: Savchenko: I never betrayed Ukraine, and will not say it is necessary to cede our territories to Russia

Third, all in all, this is a good initiative, but did Savchenko chose the right way if she wants to be an example and inspire the other people? I doubt. Perhaps it would be better to write a balanced and realistic draft law on the removal or reduction of parliamentary immunity. Because the problem really exists. On the one hand, MPs are abusing their immunity. And on the other, and it is necessary to recognize, that this status allows some people's deputies quietly and smoothly (although not 100%) perform useful functions of the state and society.

Related: Savchenko expelled from Batkivshchyna faction

And one more thing: it would be good of Ms. Savchenko clarified what kind of immunity she wants to annul. For example, the immunity of MP Novinsky has been also lifted, but not completely – he can attracted for criminal liability, but cannot be arrested.

Related: People's Front offers to consider Savchenko’s membership in National Security Council

Related: Savchenko suggested that current government is not less criminal than previous

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