A Problem of Immunity, 2nd Edition

From Zambian Economist Wed Feb 27 2013, 00:35:00

Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba says Government will now seek to lift the 4th President's immunity to facilitate prosecution :

"You cannot be prosecuted unless your immunity is lifted by Parliament; that is what the law says. You can even be charged, what you cannot do is prosecute. To be charged is not the same as to be prosecuted. The Constitution says you shall not be prosecuted; it does not say you shall not be charged for any civil or criminal wrong that you did during the time when you were head of state...The ACC was saying to Mr Banda, 'come here because according to our investigations, there are issues we would like to clarify with you...Now you cannot claim immunity against that...Now that he has been given an opportunity to go to the ACC for him to go and answer questions and without submitting to the ACC, he has pleaded immunity, we have no choice now but to take the matter to Parliament so that his immunity against prosecution can be lifted, so this is not an academic exercise."

(Source : The Post)

It should be clarified that though presidential immunity relates to solely to "legal proceedings", it is more or less equivalent to immunity from criminal investigations as well because some of the criminal evidence can only be obtained by search warrants or record warn and caution statements from the presidential suspect. This is certainly the way investigating agencies currently understand the provisions. So either the Justice Minister does not understand the law or he is playing political football with an assumed ignorant public.

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