Minister of Justice Sergiu Litvinenco said it is not opportune to keep absolute immunity for lawyers by the law on advocacy, including from the angle of the constitutional principle of equality before the law. According to him, keeping the immunity would be a compromise formula, but it should not be applied in the case of reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct, IPN reports.
The minister reacted following public discussions about the proposals to amend the law on advocacy, primarily Article 52, par. 2 saying that a lawyer cannot be detained, brought by force, arrested and searched without the preliminary consent of the Council of the Lawyers Union, except for cases when the person is caught red-handed.
According to the minister, the given amendment was introduced in the context of the adoption of amendments to the law on advocacy, on the proposal of Șor Party MP Marina Tauber.
“It is disputable if the norm, in general, can be applied as, in accordance with the Penal Procedure Code and the practice of applying laws by our courts, the legal provisions of a procedural nature from other laws can be applied only if they are included in the Penal Procedure Code,” said Sergiu Litvinenco.
The minister’s analysis of evolution of immunity in the case of lawyers shows that no law that regulated advocacy until present provided absolute immunity similar to the current one. Other countries also do not have such provisions.
The MPs benefit now from such immunity, but Parliament initiated the modification of this norm. The bill was endorsed by the Constitutional Court and is to be put to the vote as from this May. Neither the judges nor the prosecutors enjoy such type of privileges.
According to Sergiu Litvinenco, keeping the immunity would be a compromise formula, but it should not be applied in the case of reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct and cases when the persons are caught in the act. It’s clear why immunity should not apply to acts of corruption.
The Lawyers Union requested Parliament to withdraw an amendment proposed by PAS MP Olesea Stamate, the head of the commission for appointments and immunities, to the law on advocacy. The amendment excludes par. 2 of Article 52, which provides that the lawyer cannot be detained, brought by force, arrested and searched without the preliminary consent of the Council of the Lawyers Union, except for cases when the person is caught red-handed. The lawyers announced that on January 18 and 19 they will go on Japanese strike and will wear white banderoles on the left arm. If Parliament does not accept the Union’s request, the lawyers will go on general strike on January 20-24 and will fully cease activities, including of the lawyers of the state-guaranteed legal assistance system.