MOSCOW, July 18 (RAPSI) – The State Duma MPs have adopted bills granting the privilege of witness to Russia’s and regional human rights commissioners in the first reading.

Amendments are expected to be introduced into Russia’s Civil Procedure and Criminal Procedure Codes, according to the information published on the website of the lower house of parliament.

The witness immunity is supposed to be apply to the Russian federal ombudsman and rights commissioners in the Russian Federation subjects. According to the bill, they would have a right to withdraw testimony in relation to information they received on duty in civil and criminal trials.

Currently, only Russia’s High Commissioner for Human Rights has such a privilege in civil proceedings.

Moreover, the draft law envisages a special order of proceedings in criminal cases against ombudsmen. In accordance with these amendments, chiefs of the Investigative Committee’s regional investigations directorates would be authorized to take decisions on the launch of criminal cases against regional ombudsmen.