Russian lawmakers seek to grant former presidents lifetime immunity

by Jenny Mount · Nov 5th, 2020 3:18 pm

Last Updated Nov 6th, 2020 at 12:03 pm

Russian lawmakers have submitted legislation that, if passed, would grant former presidents lifetime immunity from criminal prosecution.

Current laws already prevent presidents from being held liable for crimes committed while serving their terms. However, a parliamentary working group proposed to extend presidential immunity beyond their terms in office.

"The bill secures immunity guarantees for ex-presidents beyond the terms of their presidential powers. This expands the timeframe of immunity guarantees for a president who stops exercising their powers," said the group's co-chair Senator Andrei Klishas.

The newly proposed bill, which comes a week after President Vladimir Putin submitted another bill that would give ex-presidents a lifetime seat in the senate, would grant the Russian parliament the authority to strip presidents of immunity by a two-thirds majority within three months if any are accused of high treason or other felonies.

Both pieces of legislation, which were approved by Russians in a nationwide vote, are part of constitutional reforms that would pave the way for Putin to extend his term until 2036. Putin's current terms end in 2024.

They both still need to pass in chambers of parliament a total of four times before Putin can sign them into law.


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