Confusion in Constitutional Court as sacked chief remains defiant
The Court’s Secretariat today refused to comply with the instruction to strip the dismissed chair of payments.Constitutional Court of Ukraine / Photo from UNIAN
While the Supreme Court is yet to rule in the case into the legality of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decrees which annulled appointments of Oleksandr Tupytsky and Oleksandr Kasminin as Constitutional Court judges, the CCU remains embroiled in controversy.
On Friday, April 30, Serhiy Holovatyi, a CCU judge who considers himself new chair of the Court, issued a decree, seen by UNIAN, ordering that all payments be suspended to Tupytsky and Kasminin, and that the Court-owned vehicles and other property they had been using be recalled.
Immediately after that, Oleksandr Tupytskyi, a chief CCU judge effectively sacked by President Zelensky as part of the efforts to resolve what’s seen by many as constitutional crisis following a series of controversial rulings related to anti-corruption reform, issued his own “decree” where he decried Holovatyi’s actions as “obviously unlawful” and went on to claim signs of disciplinary and criminal offenses in such actions.
At the same time, the CCU Secretariat seems to be siding with Oleksandr Tupytsky in the controversy.
According to the acting chief of CCU Secretariat, Larysa Biriuk, Yanukovych’s decrees on Tupytsky and Kasminin’s appointment, now abolished by Zelensky, are “individual action acts”, while an exhaustive list of grounds for terminating the powers of judges or dismissing them is determined by Constitution and Law on the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.”
The official adds that the decision to dismiss a CCU judge shall be made by at least two-thirds of the CCU’s constitutional composition, and that an order shall be issued by the CCU chief or their deputy operating as acting chief to terminate the labor relations with the judge in question.
“The absence of an appropriate act on the termination of labor relations determines the absence of legal grounds for ceasing the accrual of remuneration payments to CCU judges Tupytsky and Kasminin,” Biriuk noted in the letter.
She noted the same reasoning in another letter claiming there are no grounds to deprive Tupytsky and Kasminin of the right to use Court’s vehicles and other state property.
Zelensky’s move to sack CCU chief: Background
President Zelensky on March 27 annulled the decrees of former President Viktor Yanukovych on the appointment of Oleksandr Tupytsky (CCU Chairman) and Oleksandr Kasminin as CCU judges, taking into account the Verkhovna Rada’s statement of February 17, 2021 regarding the usurpation of power by Yanukovych.
The judges appointed by Yanukovych have created “a threat to the state independence and national security of Ukraine, which violates the Constitution of Ukraine, human and civil rights and freedoms,” Zelensky’s office said.
- On October 27, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU), 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 of assets, and abolished the powers of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) to verify such declarations and identify a conflict of interest.
- The European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission, issued a list of 10 recommendations to Ukrainian legislators for amending the law on the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in the light of the ongoing crisis. The recommendations were prepared as part of an urgent opinion on CCU reform, released in line with President Zelensky’s inquiry dated November 25.
- On December 15, the Verkhovna Rada passed a bill on amendments to the Law of Ukraine on Preventing Corruption to restore the institutional mechanism for preventing corruption.