Rwanda and Russia – Where Ex-Presidents Have Lifetime Immunity from Criminal Prosecution

By David Himbara

The Russian head of state Vladimir Putin on December 22, 2020, signed into law a bill that grants lifetime immunity from criminal prosecution to Russian ex-presidents. Under the new law, former presidents are immune from criminal prosecution even after they leave office. Russia now joins Rwanda in granting lifetime immunity from criminal prosecution to former presidents. Article 114 of the Rwandan constitution exempts a former president from prosecution in the following terms: ”A former President of the Republic cannot be prosecuted for treason or serious and deliberate violation of the Constitution when no legal proceedings in respect of that offence were brought against him or her while in office.” Similarly, a former Russian president is a member of the senate for life – as is the case in Rwanda. Stay tuned.