TRUE OR FAKE. Can Aurélien Pradié be punished for his comments on monkey pox and homosexuals?

The apologies of the deputy LR and general secretary of the party did not calm the controversy. Tuesday August 2, while at the National Assembly la deputy EELV Sandrine Rousseau evokes the shame felt by patients infected with monkeypox, Aurélien Pradié retorts: “It’s especially a shame for the monkeys!” For Sandrine Rousseau, it is about a “manifest homophobia” that does not pass. Even if, since, the deputy LR declared to be “deeply sorry” for anyone hurt by his words and defended himself, on RMC, for having expressed any “link between monkeys and a sexual orientation”, Sandrine Rousseau does not budge and wants sanctions. But can the MP really have Aurélien Pradié convicted?

“Deputies benefit from parliamentary immunity which is guaranteed by the Constitution”, recalls, in the preamble, to franceinfo Jean-Philippe Derosier, constitutional expert and professor of public law at the University of Lille. Under this immunity, members of the National Assembly are protected by the principle of “irresponsibility”, by virtue of which no parliamentarian can be prosecuted for “the acts he may commit or the comments made in the exercise of his mandate” in the various bodies (public meetings or committees) of the Assembly, specifies Jean-Philippe Derosier. “Aurélien Pradié’s remarks fall within the framework of the exercise of his functions, a response from one deputy against another deputy. They cannot therefore be the subject of criminal proceedings. Madame Rousseau can file a complaint, but it will necessarily be dismissed without further action.”

The immunity granted to deputies does not mean that they can afford everything. Parliamentarians must respect the regulations of the National Assembly which notably sets “disciplinary measures for behavioral deviations”, specifies Michel Verpeaux, professor emeritus at the Sorbonne law school. If these regulations constitute in a way the internal law of the Palais-Bourbon, “it remains subject to the control of the Constitutional Council. The Council thus ensures the conformity of any modification of the regulations with the French Constitution”, recalls the professor.

According to Jean-Philippe Deroiser, even if he will not be the subject of legal proceedings, Aurelien Pradié could be condemned under article 70 of the regulations of the National Assembly which sanctions any “demonstration disturbing the order [ou provoquant] a tumultuous scene”. The LR deputy could then be targeted by one of the four disciplinary measures, defined in chapter 14 “discipline, immunity and ethics” of the regulations.

The first measure, the least serious and the most common is the simple call to order. This is a warning against any parliamentarian who disturbs the serenity of a session. The President of the National Assembly can decide alone on its implementation. Recently, the LREM deputy Rémy Rebeyrotte received such a sanction for having performed a Nazi salute in the Hemicycle.

Second level of penalty, the call to order with entry in the minutes. A warning which leads to the suspension for a month of a quarter of the parliamentary allowance of the deputy, a fine that François Ruffin had to pay for having worn a football shirt during the previous term of office. the Office of the National Assembly, the institution in charge of the smooth running of the assemblies, can decide on its application. It is composed of 22 parliamentarians and is supposed to reflect the political configuration of the Parliament.

Then comes the so-called simple censorship which is accompanied by the suspension of half of the parliamentary allowance for one month. Finally, the most severe measure, censorship with temporary exclusion, deprives the deputy of access to the debates for 15 days as well as half of his allowance for two months. A heavy sentence suffered in 2011 by thee communist deputy Maxime Gremezt for an altercation followed by a scuffle during a meeting. The implementation of a simple censorship or a censorship with temporary exclusion is voted in assembly under proposal of the Bureau. In previous cases, the National Office of the Assembly had decided at most in a fortnight.

In summary, on August 3, Sandrine Rousseau asked the assembly for a point of order, to officially demand a sanction against the words of Aurelien Pradié. Naïma Moutchou, vice-president of the session, took note of the deputy’s request, which will be examined by the Bureau of the National Assembly.

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