Ukraine’s president has fired two judges for threatening national security

Ukraine’s president has fired two of its judges for threatening national security before taking a stand before the country’s constitutional court, a possible unconstitutional move aimed at breaking a month-long stalemate.

On Saturday, Volodymyr Zelensky revoked the 2013 presidential decrees issued by his predecessor, which now appoints Oleksandr Tupistovsky and Oleksandr Kasminin.

Analysts say the move was a bid to change the balance of power in a court that created a constitutional crisis. Last autumn With a verdict that threatened to disband such anti-corruption organizations. Instead, these decisions jeopardize the reform and support of Western backers, including funding from the op 5bn IMF lifeline.

Both were expelled from the presidency by pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia in 2014 after being honored by the pro-democracy revolution.

“These individuals may go on appropriate leave,” Zelensky said in a statement, explaining that they were part of an audit of “all orders of President Yanukovych.”

Yanukovych was Convicted A Ukrainian sedition court to defend Russia’s “offensive war” in 2014, which occupied the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and sparked a steady-smoky separatist conflict in the eastern regions.

Zelensky’s decree, citing Yanukovych’s “seizure of power” in 2010-2014, said the judges appointed by the former president were “a threat to state independence and national security.”

There was no immediate comment from the judge or the court.

The move comes months after Zelensky – in another Q&A-constitutional order – Tupytsky suspended From his position as head of the court, citing corruption investigations, including the failure to declare property in Russian-occupied Crimea.

Official guards have since refused to allow Tupastsky to enter the court. Its panel of 18-seat judges has consistently fought for a quorum.

Zelensky called last October Parliament dissolved Most of them were followed by court judges – following appeals from pro-Russian and oligarch allied lawmakers – who threatened to end Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau’s (NABU) independence impartiality and public declaration of compulsory public service.

Anti-corruption reform is an overriding condition for Western supporters in Ukraine for continued support.

Zelensky’s call for parliament to dissolve the entire court never came to a vote. Lawmakers have since passed legislation to restore the declaration system and are considering legislation to clarify whether the president or government will appoint a NABU director.

The Constitution of Ukraine envisages judges of the Constitutional Court who have been appointed for a term of nine years. It does not allow the President to cancel the appointment of any judge.

Ihore Koliosko, head of the Center for Policy and Legal Reform in Kiev, said Zelensky’s decree “has nothing to do with the constitution.”

“This is a revolutionary move that makes sense,” Kulyushko said, citing Tupasti’s reputation, allegations of corruption against him and the court’s controversial verdict.

“He certainly does not deserve to be a judge and these judges should somehow fight the anti-state activities associated with Russia’s growing self-interest,” Kolyushko added.

In an interview with Voice of America this week, George Kent, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said: “How the Ukrainian authorities came out of the constitutional crisis caused by the Constitutional Court. . . A real challenge. “

He called on the authorities to expedite the reforms and warned that any legislation to restore the NABU’s independence would make it very difficult for “international partners” to “continue to support.”

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