The court’s Nov. 30 decision may alleviate concerns by judicial watchdogs and Western experts about the court’s legitimacy. But President Volodymyr Zelensky said he’s concerned by the delay and sees it as an attempt to promote discredited judges’ interests.
The Constitutional Court has been in crisis for over a year. In late 2020, it reversed several key anti-corruption reforms, which led to an ongoing standoff between the court’s leadership and Zelensky.
The Constitutional Court said that Oksana Hryshchuk and Oleksandr Petryshyn, who were appointed by Zelensky on Nov. 26, cannot take office now because there are no vacant spots in the court. Spots will open up when the terms of the chairman Oleksandr Tupytsky and judge Oleksandr Kasminin expire in 2022, the court said.
Zelensky considers these spots vacant: He issued a decree to fire Tupytsky and Kasminin in March and sought to replace them with Hryshchuk and Petryshyn, which watchdogs have called a violation. In July the Supreme Court ruled that the dismissal was unlawful.