[JURIST] BBC News is reporting that the Ukrainian Supreme Court has invalidated the disputed presidential election poll and ordered fresh elections.
11:21 AM ET – Ukraine Channel 5 is broadcasting live video from Kyiv of crowds in the main square celebrating the ruling. They can be heard to chant "Yushchenko", the name of the opposition leader who made the fraud claim.
11:28 AM ET – Live webcam shots of crowds gathered in Kyiv's Independence Square are here, courtesy Kyiv's 1Plus1-TV. From Kyiv, the Maidan civic activist website now reports in English:
Actions and inactions of Central Electoral Committee were declared to be illegal since they contradict to plenty of articles of the Law about presidential elections.
The Court has cancelled CEC decisions No. 12-64 and 12-65 (about declaring of the President of Ukraine and declaring or election results).
The Court decided that the re-run should be held within 3 weeks according to the Article 85 of the Law about presidential elections.
People scan “Yushchenko” in the hall.
Read the original post here
11:35 AM ET – Kyiv-based US lawyer Scott Clark was watching TV and adds these observations on his Foreign Notes weblog:
The head justice [JURIST editor's note: presiding judge Anatoliy Yarema] read the opinion and he was noticeably nervous reading it out. This is the judge who had no trouble at all during any of the hearings. He was forceful and no nonsense. But while reading this opinion, his voice quavered and he cleared his throat a number of times. I can only imagine the pressure these people were under. But these justices deserve credit for this. It was a unanimous vote.
Full post here
11:57 AM ET – The Kyiv Post now has a full story in English here. Excerpts:
Tens of thousands of opposition protesters who had massed in central Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) in anticipation of the decision cheered, waving blue-and-yellow Ukrainian and orange Yushchenko flags and chanting "Yushchenko! Yushchenko!" The crackle of fireworks could be heard in the distance.
Yushchenko's lawyers in court were jubilant.
"This is a great victory of all people who have been standing at the square, a great victory for Ukrainian democracy," said Mykola Katerinchuk, the Yushchenko lawyer who wrote the appeal….
Representatives from Yanukovych and the Central Election Commission (CEC) left the courthouse before the judges announced their decision….
In its ruling, the court slammed Ukraine's CEC, citing massive lapses by the government in the run-up to the election and in the vote counting that followed.
Particular attention was paid in the ruling to the numerous documented cases of fraud brought by the opposition. Among them were the improper transportation and handling of ballots; improperly or inadequately compiled voters lists; abuse of administrative resources in favor of the government-backed candidate, and lack of equal media access for both candidates.
JURIST will post the full text of the Court's ruling as soon as it becomes available in either Ukrainian or English.
12:36 PM ET – The Yushchenko campaign has issued an English-language release on the Supreme Court ruling here, noting that "almost all of the claims lodged by Victor Yushchenko’s representative Mykola Katerynchuk were satisfied"; the release also notes that under the Supreme Court's decision a new round of campaign will start on December 5 with a new run-off election December 26.
1:11 PM ET – JURIST's Monitor legal video service has posted recorded video of the reading of the full Ukrainian Supreme Court ruling here, via Kyiv Channel 5 (in Ukrainian). The reading takes about 2 minutes, and applause in the chamber can be heard immediately afterwards.
10:10 PM ET – BBC News has posted translated excerpts from the Ukraine Supreme Court ruling in English. The court declared:
Taking into consideration the impossibility of being able to establish, in a reliable manner, the will of voters in the single nationwide seat by drawing up the results of the election run-off, and taking into account that the election run-off held on 21 November 2004 did not change the status of the candidates who, in accordance with the results of the election on 31 October obtained the most votes, the court regards it necessary to renew the rights of the subjects of the electoral process by holding a run-off in line with the rights accorded by Article 85 of the law of Ukraine on the presidential election.
Read more of the ruling