Following the decision of the Supreme Court of Justice of Panama to recognize penal proceedings regarding corruption allegations against former president Ricardo Martinelli, Transparency International’s chapters in Central America call for the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) to lift any parliamentary immunity or privilege he may have as a member of that body, in case this is required by Panamanian authorities.
It is important to note that parliamentary immunity – originally conceived to avoid undue pressures on members of congress – should not be abused, nor be a synonym for impunity.
The Central American Parliament, according to its regulations, has the power to make decisions regarding the immunity and privileges of its members through its Board of Directors and Plenary Assembly. It is essential that PARLACEN take the measures necessary to allow the investigations being carried out by Panama’s judiciary to run their course, in this case of regional and global interest.
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