Archive for January 23rd, 2012


Immunity – A way forward or denial of the past?

January 23, 2012

In Yemen, a law has just been past to grant ex-President Saleh immunity from prosecution over past actions.  Some will undoubtedly call this an outrageous act granting him immunity from some quite hideous acts during his time in power.  He will now never face justice in Yemen for the acts he was responsible for there.

Others will see this as a way to move on and insure that internal issues are not reignited by any subsequent attempts to bring him to account.

What has this to do with Ukraine?

Well during the 2010 presidential elections, some candidates and their supporters were calling for a line to be drawn under all previous misdeeds of the political classes past and present in order to move on without repercussions allowing bygones to be statutorily bygones.

I was adamantly against such an idea becoming reality despite the fact it came from a candidate who otherwise I thought would be far better for Ukraine than Yanukovych or Tymoshenko, the eventual victor and runner up.  The prospect of all RADA members past and present not only getting historical immunity for their nefarious pasts, but also continuing to have almost absolute immunity that the current system provides for, thus granting immunity to any nefarious action they took yesterday, today and will take tomorrow, sets an entire class of people above the law, perversely on the solid foundation of the law.

Neither Yanukovych or Tymoshenko supported this idea (at least publicly) although now both may wish they had considered it more closely given the internal events of Ukraine and the external ripples it has caused in the international pond.

Although I wrote a few days ago that it is extremely likely that by design or default Yanukovych will remain president until 2020, he will not remain president forever.  At some point in his future he will be open to investigation by those who are not allied to him.  This is a fact I am sure he is well aware of.

So looking ahead to a likely second Yanukovych term, will the issue of historical immunity raise its head again?  Will the same non-Yanukovych, non-Tymoshenko aligned politician run for the presidency again in 2015 and have it as part of his policy manifesto?

If so, will this policy be considered more carefully by Yanukovych in his last term?  It would provide an opportunity to release Tymoshenko after he is safely installed as president again, whilst also legally insuring she gets no opportunity for pay back in the future.

Again I remain opposed to such an idea, although should there be a requirement to simultaneously remove all RADA members immunity other than something equating to and equally as limiting as parliamentary privilege, this could be the only way to prevent continuing misuse of office and acting with impunity by all RADA members  Would this soften my position? – Possibly.

Looking forward they would have no immunity to hide behind when committing their nefarious acts or dismissing the law and those who enforce it as insignificant issues that apply only to the hoy polloy.

It is very difficult to get turkeys to vote for Christmas but ultimately there must be a way to break the cycle of absolute immunity when looking to the future.  Is it necessary to grant absolute immunity to the past in order to draw a very necessary line under the immunity issue and force the future RADA members to face the consequences of their nefarious actions like the rest of us?

Is Yemen on to something despite my absolute dislike for such a solution?

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