“In accordance with section 4 of the Law, an administrative sanction of the Ombudsman is permitted in relation to breaches of the Administrative Code when sanctioned by the Saeima. The Ombudsman advises that the Constitution provides that the Saiema may sit if at least half (50) of the members participate therein and that a decision may be taken by an absolute majority vote of the members present at the sitting. As a result, the SCA understands that a decision to administratively sanction the Ombudsman could be undertaken with the support of only 26 members of the Saeima.
External parties may seek to influence the independent operation of a NHRI by initiating, or by threatening to initiate, legal proceedings against a member. For this reason, NHRI legislation should include provisions to protect members from legal liability for acts undertaken in good faith in their official capacity. Such a provision promotes:
- security of tenure;
- the NHRI’s ability to engage in critical analysis and commentary on human rights issues free from interference;
- the independence of the senior leadership; and
- public confidence in the NHRI.
The SCA recognizes that no office holder should be beyond the reach of the law and thus, in certain circumstances, such as corruption, it may be necessary to lift immunity. However, the authority to do so should not be exercised by an individual, but rather by an appropriately constituted body such as the superior court or by a special majority of parliament. It is recommended that the law clearly establishes the grounds, and a clear and transparent process, by which the functional immunity of the decision-making body may be lifted.”