Ombudsman Says Parliament Must Get Cracking on MP Immunity Amendments
Chancellor of Justice Indrek Teder's office is losing patience with the parliament's lack of progress deliberating amendments to laws on MPs' immunity from prosecution, a daily reported.
Teder is planning to press the case before the Supreme Court, with his adviser Hent Kalmo telling Postimees that Teder believes Parliament has had enough time.
MPs currently have immunity under the Constitution, and stripping a parliamentarian of immunity requires both a proposal from Teder and a majority vote in Parliament.
But pre-indictment procedural issues are a murky area.
The issue is currently in the spotlight because of Teder's decision not to accede to a request from prosecutors to strip two Center Party MPs, Priit Toobal and Lauri Laasi, of their immunity.
Teder said he made his decision to return documents to the prosecution not because the Internal Security Service (ISS, formerly known as Security Police) did anything improperly in searching Toobal' and Laasi's homes and cars, but because the law that empowered the agency to do so was is unconstitutional.
Specifically, Teder has said that the rules that require the chancellor of justice's consent for procedural acts such as searches, and not that of Parliament itself, are unconstitutional.
Under the Constitutional Committee's bill that is stalled in Parliament, an independent figure, the Tallinn District Court judge, would be the one to give consent for searches.
Because the current issue ties in so directly to feuding between Center and the Reform Party, head of the Constitutional Committee Rait Maruste says a cooling-off period is necessary, especially given the approaching local elections.