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Zelensky’s move to dismiss Constitutional Court bears signs of coup — court head

The Ukrainian president floated the idea of dissolving the court after it ruled on October 27 that the anti-corruption law violates the constitution, as per earlier reports
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky
© Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP

KIEV, October 30. /TASS/. The bill on dissolution of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU), introduced by President Vladimir Zelensky, bears signs of a coup d’etat, CCU head Alexander Tupitsky said Friday.

"Zelensky’s bill on dissolution of the CCU bears signs of a constitutional coup," he said. "A draft bill appeared today, that was hacked together overnight, which bears signs of a constitutional coup in Ukraine. I state this responsibly, because it is a violation of Clause 149 of the Constitution of Ukraine," Tupitsky said.

He expressed bewilderment at both the idea to dismiss the Constitutional Court judges and at the proposed mechanism. "What will happen in the parliament Tuesday? Cancelling a CCU ruling via a law or a decision? Why not by a presidential order? Why involve the parliament in such an unconstitutional business?" he quipped.

"One man took responsibility. There is no need to tie it in to collective responsibility which will make no-one responsible," the head of the court said.

According to Tupitsky, the same bill implies dismissal of the CCU membership. "I would not be surprised, because such ideas have already been floated by [head of the National Reform Committee] Mikhail Saakashvili - to turn the CCU into a Supreme Court chamber. This is an option, but for underdeveloped countries. One cannot make a chamber out of the Constitutional Court, he said.

He pointed out that the Verkovna Rada (parliament) can approve the decision "swiftly." "They have the ‘monomajoriy,’ therefore they have votes," Tupitsky underscored.

The CCU ruling

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky introduced a bill to the Verkhovna Rada, which proposes to terminate powers of the CCU judges; to void the Court’s ruling on the anti-corruption law; and to cancel the corresponding amendments to the law without legal repercussions.

Zelensky made this step after the CCU ruled on October 27 that the bulk of the anti-corruption law violates the constitution.

In particular, the court pointed out the clause that requires the officials to publish electronic declarations; the clause that authorizes the anti-corruption agency to obtain, check and publish declarations and to supervise the lifestyle of the subjects; and the clause on the financial control measures.

The National Agency on Corruption Prevention stated that the Constitutional Court made its decision "in its own interest," arguing that the agency discovered signs of declaration of false information by two of its judges. However, after the court’s ruling, the agency was forced to shut down access to the registry of electronic declarations of state officials and lawmakers. President Zelensky subsequently called an emergency meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.