[JURIST] Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko [official website; BBC profile] has dismissed a third judge from the Ukrainian Constitutional Court [official website], little more than a week after dismissing two others for alleged oath and ethics violations [JURIST report]. The Russian Itar-Tass news service Friday quoted Constitutional Court chairman Ivan Dombrovsky as saying in response that he was "deeply worried by the situation artificially created around the countrys sole body of constitutional jurisdiction." RFE/RL has more. Itar-Tass has additional coverage.
The court is currently considering the constitutionality of Yushchenko's decree [text; JURIST report] dissolving parliament and calling for new elections. He has since issued a second decree [JURIST report] moving the elections to late June. A majority of legislators objected to the decree, filing an appeal with the 18-judge Constitutional Court.
Yushchenko has insisted [JURIST report] that his dissolution decree was proper under the Ukrainian constitution [DOC text] and has said 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.