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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINE'S CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OPENS HEARINGS ON DECREE DISSOLVING PARLIAMENT. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine on April 17 opened hearings on a motion submitted by 53 Ukrainian lawmakers questioning the constitutionality of the presidential decree dissolving the Verkhovna Rada, Interfax reported. All the Constitutional Court's 18 judges attended the session. Ukrainian legislation requires the presence of at least 12 judges to convene a court session and does not set a deadline for issuing a verdict. Ivan Dombrovskyy, the Constitutional Court chairman, warned that the court will not rule immediately. "Everybody awaits the Constitutional Court's constructive work. However, given the number of claims and questions to the court, it will not be able to swiftly rule on the case," Dombrovskyy said. The court will consider the presidential decree at plenary meetings on April 17-19 and on April 23-26, and if needed on other working days. AM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ASKS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO PROBE CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS. Viktor Yushchenko has asked Constitutional Court Chairman Dombrovskyy to investigate the possible involvement of Judge Syuzanna Stanik in corruption, Interfax reported on April 17. The Ukrainian Security Service obtained evidence that an unemployed close relative of Stanik acquired property worth $12 million last year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," April 16, 2007). Stanik announced on April 17 that she will not disqualify herself. Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych described the accusations against Stanik as "the exertion of pressure on a Constitutional Court judge," adding that they demonstrate that "law enforcement agencies also need treatment for corruption." AM

UKRAINIAN PREMIER WARNS OF 'DISASTROUS DEFEAT' FOR EUROPE. At the PACE session in Strasbourg on April 17, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yanukovych warned of the possible consequences of the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine, Interfax reported. "Civil unrest and economic crises are already looming large. If they occur, it will be a disastrous defeat for everyone, both for Ukraine and for Europe," Yanukovych said. He claimed that the ongoing political crisis should be solved through political means in accordance with the constitution and the ruling of the Constitutional Court. "We are categorically unable to agree and will not agree with a situation where the president approves a decision to disband the parliament based on his personal political preferences instead of the law," Yanukovych said. President Yushchenko said the same day in Brussels that the Constitutional Court's decision alone will not solve the crisis. "There are a number of political decisions that should be found outside the court," he added. AM