Parliamentary Immunity: Protecting Democracy or Protecting Corruption? · 2003 [full text]
Abstract: A recurring question within contemporary democratic countries relates to whether parliamentary immunity only serves to protect the interests of representatives, rather than the interests of those they were elected to represent. In this paper I seek to explore this issue by comparing two stylized models of parliamentary immunity: One which only bars the legal questioning of the immediate legislative agency of representatives (Legislative Agency Model), and another which, in addition, requires the consent of the representative assembly before the non-legislative agency of representatives can be legally questioned (Authorization Model). I argue that the Legislative Agency Model fails to adequately protect the representative assembly from outside interference and displaces the supervisory role of the citizenry. In contrast the Authorization Model, if formulated correctly, requires civic involvement and provides a sufficient basis for both protecting the assembly and containing political corruption.
‘Parliamentary Immunity in Democratizing Countries: The Case of Turkey,’ · 2009 [full text]
‘Democracy and the Politics of Parliamentary Immunity in Turkey,’ · 2005 (with Gürcan Koçan) [full text]
Abstract: In Turkey there is currently a widespread public desire to narrow the extent to which parliamentarians are immune from the law. That desire is largely motivated by the perception that political corruption is widespread and that parliamentary immunity only serves to obstruct the fight against it. As a result, a number of political parties have based their electoral platforms on the promise to limit the scope of parliamentary immunity once in office. As of yet, none have carried through their promise and this has only served to reinforce the public view that parliamentarians see their immunity as a personal privilege. Irrespective of the merits of that charge, there is a genuine concern that confronts Turkish deputies, which means that they will be less likely to limit the immunity once elected. Their concern is that current law does not adequately protect civil and political liberties and that the judiciary is not yet sufficiently evenhanded in its treatment of political cases. In effect, the fight against political corruption has been frustrated in part because of the risk to free speech that exposure to the law might entail.