Monday, May 21, 2007

Battle of the courts in rule of law and defence of democracy in Ukraine

In a desperate move to prevent judicial review of his decisions, Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine's President has sought an injunction against the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in order to prevent the court form ruling on the legality of the President actions.

Viktor Yushchenko had earlier given an undertaken to respect the determination of the court. Now faced with reality that the court will make a ruling against the President the office of the president continues to pursue all avenues to prevent the ruling being made.

The president tried to stop the court from considering the governments appeal and even went to the extra-ordinary step of dismissing three judges and have them replaced with those loyal to the president. The dismissal of the judges was overturned by a lower court and the judges reinstated accordingly.

The Constitutional Court has had to take extreme measure to protect it's sovereignty and constitutional right to consider the appeal lodge by Ukraine's parliamentarians challenging the Presidents decree dismissing Ukraine's democratically elected Parliament.

It is understood that the Constitutional Court has in fact made a decision and is now in the process of writing up the details that outline the basis of the courts determination.

If the Constitutional Court rules against the President he will be under extreme pressure to resign, as a result is important from the point of view of the president that the Court does not rule on the case.

This is the most serious constitutional crisis facing Ukraine since independence. The President has even indicated that he will defy the ruling of the court and as such Ukraine's constitution.

There is concern that the President will seek to declare a state of emergency in which case the decision of Ukraine's National Defence and Security Council (NDSC) may take over control of the government and we will see Ukraine follow in the steps of countries such as Thailand.