The Ukrainian Parliament has voted to dismiss the Prosecutor General Rouslan Riaboshapka in a 263-18 vote.
Speaking at the Parliament, Riaboshapka said that he believes he is being fired because of his independence and productivity. He highlighted the reform at the Prosecutor General’s Office that he managed to carry out.
“It’s happening because those we got rid of want to return,” he said.
He reportedly left the parliament hall after his speech without waiting for the decision.
Among the critics of the dismissal were MPs from opposition parties like European Solidarity, Batkivshchyna, and Golos. They believe that the decision to fire him was because Ukrainian President Zelenskyy wants to toughen up his fight against the opposition.
A bill calling for Riaboshapka’s dismissal was registered in Parliament on March 3. The bill, posted to the Parliament’s official website, listed both ruling party and opposition members as co-sponsors – 158 MPs in total.
Riaboshapka, initially seen as an anti-corruption activist who had previously worked at Transparency International and had resigned from the heavily criticized anti-corruption agency NAPC (National Agency on Preventing Corruption), has come under fire from former and current prosecutors for introducing new written exams for prosecutors, resulting in the dismissal of prosecutors working on high profile cases, including into U.S. political operative Paul Manafort’s actions in Ukraine.
Co-sponsors of his dismissal bill include Servant of the People MPs allegedly connected to oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, such as Oleksandr Dubinsky, as well as recently indicted for assault opposition MP Ilya Kiva.
The bill stated that “there are enough reasons to prove Rouslan Riaboshapka’s ineffectiveness in fulfilling the responsibilities of the Prosecutor General…” adding that the authors of the bill believe that slow or non-investigations into high profile cases showcase that the current Prosecutor General is unfit for his role.