Zelensky suspends Constitutional Court chair for two months

Criminal charges have also been pressed against the chief judge, revealing conflict of interest.Photo from UNIAN, Viacheslav RatynskyiPhoto from UNIAN, Viacheslav Ratynskyi

President Volodymyr Zelensky has suspended Oleksandr Tupytsky, Head of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, for a period of two months.

That’s according to the President’s Office.

“I am signing this decree for the sake of restoring justice and resolving Constitutional crisis,” Volodymyr Zelensky stressed.

It is noted that the decision was made after the experts with the President’s Office received and processed the motion filed by the Office of the Prosecutor General, signed by the acting prosecutor general, to suspend CCU Judge Oleksandr Tupytsky for a period of two months.

Deputy head of the President’s Office Andriy Smirnov has noted that the motion was aimed at the execution of Art. 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which provides that officials appointed by President shall be removed from office at a prosecutor’s request, and it’s the President who makes such decisions.

“We have not found any reservations regarding the possibility of considering it and passing appropriate decisions,” he said.

He also added that the CCU head had been charged with criminal offenses revealing conflict of interest.

The president’s move is a temporary measure, not entailing termination of the judge’s powers, said Fedir Venislavsky, Zelensky’s envoy to the Constitutional Court.

Earlier today, Volodymyr Zelensky convened the National Security and Defense Council to address the constitutional crisis.

Constitutional crisis in Ukraine: Background

On October 27, the Constitutional Court, on the motion of 47 MPs, adopted a decision repealing Article 366-1 of the Criminal Code, which had provided for liability for inaccurate declaration of assets by government officials.

The Constitutional Court also recognized unconstitutional the provisions of laws on the verification of e-declarations, and abolished the powers of the NACP to verify such declarations and identify conflict of interest.

President Volodymyr Zelensky tabled bill No. 4288 in parliament to terminate the powers of all Constitutional Court judges. The document states, in particular, that the decision of the Constitutional Court of October 27 is “null and void” (such that it does not create legal consequences) as such that was adopted by the Constitutional Court judges in conditions of a real conflict of interests.” Zelensky proposes the termination of the powers of Constitutional Court judges, suggesting that actors authorized to appoint new judges immediately begin the competitive selection.

Head of the Constitutional Court Oleksandr Tupytsky claimed the president’s proposals directly contradicted the Constitution.

The Venice Commission has acknowledged that the Constitutional Court’s decision of October 27 “lacks clear reasoning, has no firm basis in international law, and was possibly tainted with a major procedural flaw – an unresolved question of a conflict of interest of some judges.”

(C)UNIAN 2020

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