Conflicting provisions in legislation makes it impossible for the Parliament to take any action in response to prosecutors’ request for the permission to press criminal charges against UNM lawmaker Roland Akhalaia, parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili said on Monday.
The Parliament will have to at first introduce legislative amendments in order to address existing conflict of norms, Usupashvili said in a written statement.
On the one hand the code of criminal procedure obligates the prosecutor’s office to seek Parliament’s permission to bring criminal charges against a lawmaker, but on the other hand legislation does not provide for procedures how the Parliament can do that.
“The Georgian Parliament has no constitutional authority to discuss the issue of launching criminal proceedings against Roland Akhalaia and there are no legal procedures either,” Usupashvili said.
But at the same time Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor “cannot launch criminal proceedings against a member of parliament without approval of the Parliament” as envisaged by articles 167 and 169 of the criminal procedure code.
“As a result of such a legal collision, a lawmaker actually enjoys with an absolute immunity – it will be impossible to bring criminal charges against a member of parliament no matter how grave a crime might be and no matter of how incontrovertible evidence might be,” Usupashvili said in a statement on March 17.
Usupashvili said that “this absurd situation” was caused by amendments introduced to the code of criminal procedure in 2010 by the previous Parliament.
He said that he would ask the parliamentary bureau to initiate an amendment to the criminal procedure code to remove a provision, which creates “artificial and unconstitutional legal hurdle” for the prosecutor’s office.
After this amendment the prosecutor’s office will be able to bring criminal charges against MP Akhalaia without seeking Parliament’s permission, but such amendment will not imply stripping of a lawmaker of his or her immunity and prosecutors will still be required to ask for Parliament’s authorization if they want to arrest a lawmaker.
Prosecutor’s office requested for Parliament’s permission to initiate criminal charges against Roland Akhalaia on March 14; prosecutors claim he exceeded official powers while serving as chief prosecutor of Samegrelo region in 2009; MP Akhalaia denies charges.