Tillerson's role in lifting immunity from Ukraine's MPs

Author : Ihor Rymskyi

Source : 112 Ukraine

Prosecutor's General Office and Special Anticorruption Prosecution Office filed requests to lift immunity from five MPs, and the Parliament has voted for three of them
23:14, 13 July 2017

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The beginning of the plenary week was quite typical for July. It is great heat, and activists conduct a rally near the parliament. This time the rally participants demanded the removal of immunity from a number of Ukraine’s MPs, previously voiced by Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko. It is interesting that this issue was to be considered on Thursday, July 13, but on the morning of July 11 the situation changed, some sources from Speaker of Parliament Andriy Parubiy warned that the immunity issue would be solved on Tuesday.

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"There will be at least two (effective, - ed.) votes on Tuesday," the source said. The names of the "victims" were known a few days ago: the representative of the "Will of the People" Oles Dovgy, the promoter of the "Popular Front" Maksym Polyakov and the deputy from the pro-presidential faction Boryslav Rosenblat. According to sources in the presidential administration and factions of the coalition, the choice of these deputies is connected both with participation in the investigation of FBI representatives (Polyakov, Rosenblat, - ed.) and with personal antipathies of the prosecutor general Lutsenko (Dovgy - ed.).

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However, "People's Front" said that it is ready to vote for the removal of immunity from "all their deputies" (including Eugene Deidei, - ed.). It remained an intrigue whether Rosenblat and Polyakov would be transferred from the Verkhovna Rada directly to the pretrial detention center. Previously, the principle agreement was obtained only for the removal of parliamentary immunity.

As a result, at the plenary session on Tuesday, the deputies decided not to postpone voting for the removal of parliamentary immunity from five of their colleagues and to consider this issue here and now. As one of the deputies from the opposition explained to the author of these lines, there were fears that there would be no voting on Thursday, because according to preliminary data, some deputies "took tickets (on vacation, -"

"Everyone understood that there would be no any voting on Thursday, therefore they decided to do it on Tuesday," the deputy explained. However, before the vote itself, there was almost a scandal. Part of the deputy corps demanded that Lutsenko immediately came to the session hall. According to the legislation, the parliament has no right to consider the issue of immunity without the presence of the attorney general. Speaker of the Parliament Andeyi Parubiy replied that Lutsenko is on a business trip. However, there were rumors on the sidelines of the parliament that the delay in the arrival of the Prosecutor General was not connected with his official activity.

In his speeches, Lutsenko recalled what the defendants are accused of and urged the deputy corps to help "cleanse the parliament in order to make it stronger." He was also echoed by Parliament Speaker Parubiy, who stated that the parliament should not be engage in a mutual guarantee.

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At about 5 pm the deputies, in defiance of the statements of the "Popular Front" faction, decided to leave Deidei inviolable. As one of the influential deputies, "front-line soldiers," explained, the faction changed its mind because of the idea of removing immunity from the People's Deputy Denis Dzendzkarski.

"We really planned to vote for the removal of immunity from Deidei, but Kholodnitsky (head of Special Anti-corruption Prosecution (SAP) Nazar Kholodnytsky, - ed.) came to our people and said that Dzendzersky case is in progress, and our guys felt insulted," explained the deputy.

The protestors under the walls of the parliament met the decision with lighted smoke bombs.

However, further everything went "according to plan." Parliamentarians, as expected, rejected the idea of removing immunity from Andriy Lozovy (Radical Party of Lyashko), but deprived of immunity of "FBI clients" - a representative of the "Popular Front" Maksym Polyakov and a deputy from the "Bloc of Petro Poroshenko" Boryslav Rosenblat, and representative of the "Will of the people" group Oles Dovgy. However, the prospects for the latter are not real. Colleagues of Rosenblat and Polyakov have forbidden to detain the MPs, which caused considerable skepticism among activists and parliamentarians.

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After the voting, Lutsenko promised to come with new ideas regarding the removal of immunity from People's Deputy Deidei and Lozovy in the autumn. For his part, the head of the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office Nazar Kholodnytsky announced new cases against MPs.

According to sources in the coalition factions, deputies from the "Opposition block" and deputy groups are mainly in a risky situation. In general, according to the first deputy chairman of the Standing Committee Pavlo Pynzenyk, the prosecutor's office have "40 folders of materials about the deputies." Nonetheless, the deputies are skeptical about the prospect of investigating these cases.

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However, in the fall we are waiting for the continuation of the story. According to sources in the presidential administration, during the visit of US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson said to show some result of the fight against corruption in 2-3 months.

Related: Another regulatory committee meeting on lifting immunity on corruption charges

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