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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Senators Back Investigative Agency

The Federation Council on Friday approved a bill that would create a semi-autonomous agency aimed at improving the oversight of criminal investigations.

Senators approved the bill, which would concentrate the investigative powers of prosecutors in the new agency, by a vote of 127-2 with six abstentions.

The bill creates an investigative committee within the Prosecutor General's Office and the offices of the regional and municipal prosecutors whose staff will focus solely on investigating crime. Communists have opposed the bill, saying it would destroy official oversight.

Currently, if a supervising prosecutor needs to cancel what he sees as the illegal decision of an investigator -- such as an illegal seizure of evidence -- he can do so on his own and immediately. The bill would oblige prosecutors in such cases to turn to the heads of their local investigative committee for approval.

The bill, which would create the committee by year's end, now must go to the president for his signature.