Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed a decree suspending Oleksandr Tupytskyi as a judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine for two months, the President's Office has reported.
According to the report, Zelensky said he had signed the decree "for the sake of restoring justice and resolving the constitutional crisis."
The decision was made after the President's Office received and processed a petition from the Prosecutor General's Office, signed by the acting prosecutor general, to suspend Constitutional Court judge Oleksandr Tupytskyi from office for two months.
Deputy Head of the President's Office Andriy Smyrnov said that the petition had been sent in accordance with Article 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which stipulates that officials appointed by the president of Ukraine are removed from office at the request of the prosecutor and such a decision is made by the president.
The President's Office also reported that the head of the Servant of the People faction in the Verkhovna Rada, David Arakhamia, has expressed support for the president's decision.
"Of course, I support the president's decision to suspend Mr. Tupytskyi from his position as a judge of the Constitutional Court. First of all, it is quite a logical continuation of the process we started in the parliament, when we collected 226 signatures of people's deputies calling on the Constitutional Court of Ukraine to voluntarily resign, because there is no public trust in this institution at this time," Arakhamia said.
The president's representative in the Constitutional Court, Fedir Venislavskyi, noted that according to experts in the field of constitutional law, neither the Constitution of Ukraine nor the law of Ukraine on the Constitutional Court defines a special procedure for suspending a Constitutional Court judge from office.
"This is not dismissal, this is not the termination of his powers as a judge, but this is a temporary measure envisaged by Article 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine. The president of Ukraine, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine, issues decrees. According to Article 154, a person who was appointed by the president of Ukraine may be temporarily suspended from office for up to two months pending the pretrial investigation," Venislavskyi said.
He also said that the president of Ukraine acted in full compliance with his constitutional powers by suspending Tupytskyi from office for two months.
On December 28, Chairman of the Constitutional Court Oleksandr Tupytskyi was declared a suspect in influencing a witness through bribery, as well as giving knowingly false testimony as a witness. The case concerns the privatization of the Zuivsky Energy and Mechanical Plant in Donetsk region.
Tupytskyi did not show up at 09:30 on December 28 at the Prosecutor General's Office to be handed a suspicion notice. He said he could not come for family circumstances and asked for his visit to the prosecutor's office to be postponed until another day.
The Prosecutor General's Office prepared a petition to the President's Office, which concerned permission to suspend Tupytskyi as head of the Constitutional Court.