On March 25, Ukraine’s Supreme Administrative Court ruled on the legality of the President’s controversial decree, interfering with the operation and independence of Ukraine’s Constitutional Court, by dismissing three Constitutional Court Judges. The President’s actions came under harsh criticism and was seen by many as an attempt by the President to pervert the course of justice by preventing the Constitutional Court from ruling on the question of legality of the President’s dismissal of Ukraine’s parliament in 2007.
Two of the three judges later resigned and a third Judge, Suzanna Stanik, challenged the the authority of the president’s actions.
Article 149 of Ukraine’s Constitution states : “Judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine are subject to the guarantees of independence and immunity and to the grounds for dismissal from office envisaged by Article 126 of this Constitution, and the requirements concerning incompatibility as determined in Article 127, paragraph two of this Constitution.”
The decision of Ukraine’s Supreme Administrative Court has upheld Suzanna Stanik challenge and the Court has reinstated her as a member of Ukraine’s Constitutional Court. The decision of the court is final and there is no further right of appeal. The decision has raised a number of very important issues and brings into question Viktor Yushchenko’s suitability to remain president.
As President and Head of State, Viktor Yushchenko is the guarantor of Ukraine’s Constitution. His illegal dismissal and interference in the independence and operation of Ukraine’s Constitutional Court is serious offence and grounds for his impeachment.
The political reality is that the President will not be held accountable for his actions as under Ukraine’s constitution the President holds absolute immunity and it is highly unlikely that the current parliament will initiate impeachment proceeding.
Given the seriousness of this matter Viktor Yushchenko should resign as Ukraine’s President for failing to fulfill his oath of office.