Ukraine leader claims troops but interior minister balks as prosecutor crisis deepens

[JURIST] Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko [official website; JURIST news archive] ordered Ukraine's interior ministry troops to come under his command [press release] Friday as a new crisis over Yushchenko's Thursday dismissal [JURIST report] of the country's top prosecutor escalated, but Prime Minister Victor Yanukovych and Interior Minister Vasyl Tsushko [appointment announcement] defied the move, calling it unconstitutional. Yushchenko said the decree was necessary "given yesterday's events in the Prosecutor General's Office." After Yushchenko fired Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun, Tsushko dispatched police to form a protective chain around the office to prevent Piskun's removal. Yushchenko has characterized Tsushko's actions as criminal [press release] and called for an investigation.

In a televised address [transcript, in Ukrainian] Thursday, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych denounced the attempt by Yushchenko to replace Piskun [ITAR-TASS report] as illegal. Ukraine has been mired in a broad constitutional crisis since Yushchenko issued a decree dissolving parliament [JURIST report] on April 2. After Yanukovych and parliament filed a legal challenge before the Constitutional Court of Ukraine [official website; JURIST news archive], Yushchenko 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. The International Herald Tribune has more.



 

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