Russian lawmakers have introduced legislation that would give Vladimir Putin lifetime immunity from prosecution if and when he leaves office, according to reports.
Current laws protect the incumbent president from responsibility for crimes committed during his tenure, but a parliamentary group has proposed extending such immunities beyond the president’s term, the Moscow Times reported.
“The bill guarantees guarantees of immunity for ex-presidents beyond the terms of their presidential powers,” said Senator Andrei Klishas, co-chairman of the group, in an interview with reporters. “This extends the duration of guarantees of immunity for a president who ceases to exercise his powers.”
The measure would, however, allow both houses of the Russian parliament to deprive presidents of immunity by a two-thirds majority within three months if they are accused of serious crimes, such as high treason or other crimes.
Putin introduced a bill as part of constitutional reforms last week that would give presidents a life seat in the Senate after they leave. The Kremlin told Thursday’s press conference that many other countries are offering lifetime guarantees to their former presidents.
Political analysts believe Putin’s plans may have been a way to prevent a ‘lame duck’ term: he would choose when to step down rather than exhaust terms and lose a term, the Guardian reported .
The bills are part of reforms Putin undertook after constitutional amendments that “reset” the president’s term limits, allowing him to continue running for office until the age of 84.
The only other living Russian who could benefit from the new measures would be Dmitry Medvedev, who was president from 2008-2012 but stepped down when Putin returned to power.