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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT POSTPONES PARLIAMENT DISSOLUTION DECISION. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine has postponed hearings on the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada until April 17, Interfax reported on April 10. Also on April 10, five Constitutional Court judges complained about pressure exerted on them and asked for the state to provide them with bodyguard services. Ukraine's security services have agreed to provide them with temporary protection. The judges also said that they cannot decide on high-profile cases unless there are conditions that would allow unbiased rulings. "The president of Ukraine has issued a decree to dissolve the Verkhovna Rada within his constitutional authority. Regretfully, some well-known statesmen and political figures are making premature statements that the decree is unconstitutional, whereas the constitution says that only the Constitutional Court is authorized to decide on the constitutionality of the decree," the judges said in a statement. The Constitutional Court consists of 18 judges, appointed by the president, the parliament, and the Council of Judges, a nonpartisan judicial body, who each name six. An effective ruling requires the support of at least 10 judges. AM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING MUST BE OBEYED. Viktor Yushchenko said on April 10 that all political forces involved in the Ukrainian governmental crisis should accept and honor, rather than discuss, any future Constitutional Court ruling on the legality of the presidential decree dissolving the Verkhovna Rada, Interfax reported. "I would like Constitutional Court rulings to be obeyed rather than discussed," Yushchenko said. "I am sure that this rule is applicable to all sides," he replied when asked whether he himself will obey a ruling if the Constitutional Court finds his decree unconstitutional. "Both the constitution and its interpretation by the Constitutional Court should be respected by all parties to the process. This is one of the fundamental preconditions for resolving any conflict, including the conflict that is under way in Ukraine today." AM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT KEEPS LAW ENFORCEMENT BODIES AWAY FROM POLITICAL CONFLICTS. Yushchenko told a meeting on April 10 of the heads of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies that "all law enforcement and security agencies should undertake a peacekeeping mission and stay away from political conflicts," Interfax reported, quoting Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko. Hrytsenko also said that participants in the meeting did not discuss whether to introduce a state of emergency nor whether to beef up law enforcement and security agencies to deal with the situation. According to Hrytsenko, two groups are monitoring the activity of Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies -- one operates on behalf of the president and is led by Vitaliy Haiduk, the secretary of the National Defense and Security Council, and the second acts on behalf of the government and is led by Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Radchenko. AM