SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2021
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Prez suspends Constitutional Court judge
Journal Staff Report

KYIV, Dec 29 - President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed a decree on Tuesday to suspend the head of the Constitutional Court, Oleksandr Tupytskiy, for two months, Reuters reported.

Ukrainian prosecutors said on Monday they were investigating Tupytskiy in connection with the suspected bribery of a witness.

"I am signing this decree in order to restore justice and resolve the constitutional crisis," Zelenskiy said, according to a statement on the presidential website.

Tupytskiy could not immediately be reached for comment, but his office said in a statement this week that only the Constitutional Court itself had the powers to dismiss one of its judges.

The development comes a day after prosecutors said they are investigating Tupytskiy in connection with the suspected bribery of a witness. The suspected incident took place in 2018, when Tupytskiy served as deputy chairman of the court.

Tupytskiy did not appear at the prosecutor's office on Monday despite a request to do so.

Zelenskiy and the Constitutional Court have been at loggerheads after the court in October struck down key anti-corruption legislation, hobbling the government's prospects of securing foreign aid loans.

The controversial ruling by the Constitutional Court has triggered concerns at the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. and the European Union that Ukraine is reversing its anti-corruption measures.

Ukraine was urged to take action to resume anti-corruption measures to avoid major implications, including suspended financial aid to the country.

The government, which is grappling with a sharp economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic, is trying to get its $5 billion loan deal with the IMF on track and hopes to receive more money in February or March.

The office of Venediktova, an ally of Zelenskiy, declined further comment.

Zelenskiy in October had asked parliament to dissolve the court, prompting Tupytskiy to accuse Zelenskiy of a "constitutional coup".

It passed legislation this month to counteract the court's October ruling. (rt/ez)

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