BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has signed into law legislation under which former heads of states can be prosecuted.
Jeenbekov ratified the legislation on May 16, according to the presidential website, amid calls by some politicians for an investigation into decisions made by his predecessor, Almazbek Atambayev, while he was in office, RFE/RL reported.
The new law preserves immunity from prosecution for former presidents, but also states that prosecution could be possible if they lose their ex-president status.
Parliament can strip a former president of that status if they are suspected of “especially serious crimes” by the Prosecutor-General’s Office, according to the text, which was given final approval by lawmakers in April.
It is not clear what the law defines as an “especially serious crime.”
The discussions of the issue of annulling former presidents’ immunity from prosecution have been under consideration amid a standoff between Jeenbekov and Atambayev.
Limited to a single six-year term by the constitution, Atambayev tapped Jeenbekov, his former prime minister, as his favored successor in the October 2017 presidential election.
But the two have had a public falling out and have criticized each other for more than a year.
Several associates of Atambayev have been arrested on corruption charges.