20.09.2005 | Candidates of Law, Fedir Venislavsky and Viktor Kychun

A Constitutional and legal analysis of Leonid Kravchuk’s statement regarding impeachment


A Constitutional and legal analysis of Leonid Kravchuk’s statement regarding the possibility of launching impeachment proceedings against the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko

As everybody is aware, the leader of the parliamentary faction SDPU (o) [Social-Democratic Party of Ukraine (United)] Leonid Kravchuk has publicly suggested that he may begin moves in parliament to have the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, removed from his post through the process of impeachment. The grounds for this statement was information made public by Kravchuk concerning alleged financing for Yushchenko’s election campaign provided by a foreign national – the Russian businessman, Boris Berezovsky.

We do not intend to give any criminal law assessment of actions connected with the alleged use in the election process of financial aid which has come from a foreign national (the use of such money is explicitly prohibited by the Law of Ukraine “On the Ukrainian Presidential Elections”, however it must first be proven through means established by legislation). We do however consider it necessary to carry out an impartial legal analysis of the grounds which, in the view of Leonid Kravchuk, warrant the launching of the procedure for impeachment set down in the Constitution.

According to the Constitution of Ukraine, “The President of Ukraine may be removed from office by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine by the procedure of impeachment, in the event that he or she commits state treason or other crime” (Part 1 of Article 111). This constitutional provision clearly and unambiguously indicates that the removal through impeachment of the President of Ukraine in power is possible solely in cases where the President of Ukraine in power has committed state treason or other crimes.

In other words, the legal grounds for launching impeachment proceedings can be the committing of state treason or another crime only by the person who at the moment which these deeds were committed occupied the post of President of Ukraine. And therefore any actions of the person who has become the President of Ukraine, committed by him or her before taking post – before the moment when the newly-elected President of Ukraine takes his or her oath to the people at the ceremonial meeting of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Part 2 of Article 104 of the Constitution of Ukraine), cannot be considered legal grounds for the removal through impeachment of the President of Ukraine.

It should, furthermore, be noted that a situation where a person who holds the post of President of Ukraine has committed a crime prior to being elected President of Ukraine would be rather interesting from the point of view of the procedure for bringing criminal proceeding against him or her. However this requires not a constitutional legal, but a criminal law analysis and consideration.

The statement by Leonid Kravchuk, therefore, about the possible launching of impeachment procedure if the information which he has made public is substantiated is, from a constitutional legal point of view entirely without grounds and unwarranted.

Candidate of Law, Fedir Venislavsky
Candidate of Law, Viktor Kychun

The Ukrainian original is at the address:

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