Ukraine president dismisses top prosecutor but interior minister defies order

[JURIST] Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko [official website; JURIST news archive] fired Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun [official website, in Ukrainian] Thursday, prompting Interior Minister Vasyl Tsushko [official report] to dispatch police to form a protective chain around the General Office of the Public Prosecutor. Piskun himself initially defied the dismissal, but subsequently said that he will leave office once the order is published in the presidential register and approved by the parliament. Piskun also indicated he would appeal the order in court. Yushchenko attempted to dismiss Piskun two years ago [JURIST report], citing the slow investigation into Yushchenko's dioxin poisoning before Ukraine's 2004 presidential elections, although Piskun said he was dismissed for investigating the finances of Yushchenko's wife. In April, Yushchenko reappointed Piskun after a December 2006 court ruling ordered reinstatement.

Ukraine has been mired in a constitutional crisis since Yushchenko issued a degree dissolving parliament [JURIST report] on April 2. Yushchenko's chief rival Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych [BBC profile] and leaders of the Ukrainian parliament filed a legal challenge before the Constitutional Court of Ukraine [official website; JURIST news archive]. Yushchenko subsequently dismissed three Constitutional Court judges for alleged oath and ethnics violations [JURIST report], and appointed replacement judges [JURIST report] without consulting either Yanukovych or the Justice Ministry. On Tuesday, Yushchenko sought a lower court order to block the Constitutional Court from ruling on his April 2 decree following his rejection of the Constitutional Court's authority [JURIST reports]. AP has more.

 

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