On Immunity of MPs – Tetiana Ostrikova
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Over the last few days journalists and voters have been asking about how Samopomich will vote on the proposal to remove immunity from MPs. The answer is simple: we have everything written in the program with which we went to the polls – “Samopomich supports removal of parliamentary immunity.”

The events of recent days have made me think about a conspiracy theory: what if the submissions for the consent to prosecute people’s deputies are made not with the aim of bringing them to a logical conclusion, but with the aim of discrediting the parliament and creating grounds for its early dissolution by the President. As it is known, generalization is one of the types of manipulation. Therefore, firstly, due to the published materials and evidence Ukrainians have fallen under impression that all MPs take bribes for amendments, requests, or draft laws. That makes all MPs look bad. Secondly, it is not known what is now going to happen with the submissions in the parliament. If the Verkhovna Rada fails to abolish parliamentary immunity, then people will treat all deputies equally guilty for so to speak “covering each other’s backs” and will hate all MPs regardless of their belonging to parties or factions, and regardless of who voted and how they voted.

At the same time, if our state will be further spurred into voting for the “special status of Donbas” or for elections in the occupied territories, and the ruling majority won’t be able to collect enough votes in the parliament for these nonsense things, then the President will have a good excuse to dissolve the parliament and handle this complex international situation in an elegant way – formally because of people’s discontent over the removal of immunity. These are, of course, only assumptions.

I can only say for sure how Samopomich will vote, because we are supporting all without exception submissions on the removal of MPs’ immunities, even if those MPs are our friends. The removal of immunity is not conviction of a person, not a court verdict, but an opportunity for MPs to defend themselves, to acquire the relevant procedural status and have the appropriate procedural rights, to go to court and prove their innocence there. This week’s soap opera, set in the Verkhovna Rada’s Regulatory Committee, showed the ineffectiveness of the existing procedure. Evidence (video and telephone conversations) should be examined in court in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code, and not in the committees of the Verkhovna Rada.

We have an agreement with my colleagues from the Samopomich  faction: if there is a submission on the removal of immunity from one of us – because we are in opposition and against the authorities – this person will go to the rostrum and read out a statement with a request to remove his/her immunity. We also believe that the removal procedure can be simplified by making it quick and technical. Samopomich has drafted a bill on this.

A complete abolition of immunity or at least for general criminal offenses requires amending the Constitution. The coalition is blocking consideration of those amendments in the second reading. We need like-minded people to fight this. Maybe we will have to look for them in the next Verkhovna Rada composition.

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