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Ukraine president dismisses high court judge as dissolution decree ruling awaited

[JURIST] Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko [official website; BBC profile] dismissed Ukrainian Constitutional Court [official website] Judge Valeriy Pshenichny from office for an "oath violation," according to the presidential press service Monday. No details were released on the exact nature of the "violation." On April 25, Pshenichny said that Yushchenko had requested a transcript of the court proceedings mulling the legality of Yushchenko's April 2 decree [text] dissolving the Ukrainian parliament, something he was not authorized to request. On April 26, Yushchenko signed a second decree [JURIST report] to move the parliamentary election to June 24. A majority of legislators objected to the decree, filing an appeal with the 18-judge Constitutional Court. The court has not yet ruled on the issue. RIA has more.

Yushchenko has insisted [JURIST report] that his dissolution decree was proper under the Ukrainian constitution. Earlier this month, Yushchenko added that officials who refuse to comply with his decree could face criminal prosecution [press release; JURIST report]. Yushchenko and current Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who launched the legal challenge to the decree, were fierce rivals in the 2004 presidential election [JURIST report], the results of which were invalidated by the country's Supreme Court [JURIST report] following fraud allegations. Yushchenko was sworn in as Ukraine's president [JURIST report] in January 2005 on the wings of the populist Orange Revolution [BBC timeline] after winning a re-vote. Yushchenko reluctantly accepted Yanukovych as prime minister last June and the two have since clashed over parliamentary attempts to expand the cabinet's power [JURIST reports] at the expense of the presidency.

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