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Ukraine presidency rejects court authority after new chief justice named

[JURIST] Head of the Ukrainian presidential secretariat Viktor Baloha said Friday that the Constitutional Court of Ukraine [official website; JURIST news archive] has lost its authority with Thursday's appointment of Valeri Pshenischny as chief justice after former Chief Justice Ivan Dombrovsky abruptly resigned [JURIST report] Thursday. The 18-judge court made the replacement appointment while continuing deliberations over the constitutionality of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's April 2 decree [text; JURIST report] dissolving parliament and calling for new elections. Baloha said Pshenischny cannot serve as chief justice because he was previously dismissed [JURIST report] from the court by Yushchenko in April. Because of this, with Pshenischny as acting chair, "no judgment of the judicial instance will be effective in the legal or moral senses," Baloha said.

In April, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yiktor Yanukovych [BBC profile] and leaders of Parliament filed a legal challenge to Yushchenko's decrees [JURIST report], seeking to block the dissolution of parliament. Yushchenko has subsequently dismissed three Constitutional Court judges for alleged oath and ethics violations [JURIST report], and appointed replacement judges without consultation [JURIST report] with either Yanukovych or the Justice Ministry. Interfax has more.

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