The Moldovan deputies can lose the parliamentary immunity. It’s an initiative of 39 deputies that was approved by the Constitutional Court. The law will come into the force only after the Parliament approval which can take up to 6 months.
The President of the Constitutional Court Alexandru Tanase commented on this decision: "The Constitutional Court adopted this initiative. This revising of art. 70 of Constitution was presented by a group of 39 deputies in accordance with art. 141, paragraph 1, letter b of the Constitution”.
If the initiative is approved, there will be a possibility to start criminal prosecution against the deputies without the Parliament’s permission. The deputies will be protected by law only in case of the pressure due the expression of political opinions or their voting according to art. 71 of the Constitution.
"All persons are equal by the law, even if they are deputies or do some inside and outside parliament activities. We must obey any law, any legislative act" – said the unaffiliated deputy Igor Vremea.
On April 8, the group of deputies said that they had collected 39 signatures required for the revising the Constitution to abolish parliamentary immunity law.
The Moldovan’s deputies are protected by the Constitution
The Law on the Status of Deputies claims that the parliamentary immunity is designed to protect them from prosecution, as well as to protect their freedom of opinion and action.
According to art. 10 of the Constitution, a deputy may not be detained, arrested, searched, except the cases when a deputy is caught in the act. The deputy can’t be prosecuted in a criminal case without the Parliament’s permission.
At the same time, requests for detention, arrest, searches should be sent through the President of Moldovan Parliament to the Attorney General. After that, the Parliament shall take a decision on the request by secret voting of elected deputies.
The requests about deputies immunity status is a priority on the agenda of the parliamentary session. Article 13 claims that the deputy has immunity during his mandate, so any act of aggression against him is qualified as a crime.
The Filat’s case
In October 2015 by a vote of 79 deputies, the Liberal Democrat Party’s deputy Vlad Filat lost his parliamentary immunity on the request of the Attorney General. Now he is suspected in frauds and corruption.
Investigators suspect that during the period when he was the Prime Minister, he received about 250 million dollars from Ilan Shor.
Filat denies his guilty. He argues that this is an act of political repression, organized by the first vice-president of the Democratic Party Vlad Plahotniuc.
At the moment Vlad Filat is in custody. He can be imprisoned for passive corruption from 7 to 15 years with a fine from 8000 to 10,000 of conventional units. As for the abuse of official position for personal purposes he can be imprisoned from 3 to 7 years or pay a fine from 4000 to 6000 of conventional units.
Comments of the Constitutional Court’s decision
While the Moldovan civil society welcomes the decision of the Constitutional Court to abolish the immunity, some experts are against this decision. Some opinions were expressed during one of the shows on Publika TV.
Political analyst Corneliu Ciurea said that parliamentary immunity should be maintained. "There is the Filat’s case as example. He had the immunity, but he is in custody, while Ilan Shor did not receive the immunity and is free now. I believe that parliamentary immunity doesn’t really matter if someone should be arrested".
At the same time, a member of the Superior Council of Magistracy Teodor Carnat considers that the abolition of parliamentary immunity is necessary to fight the corruption “The immunity is an obstacle to investigation process, especially in corruption cases. All the citizens are equal by the law and shall be responsible for their actions".