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Ukraine's Prosecutor General Says He'll Resign Following Murder of Activist
6 November, 2018
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Yuriy Lutsenko, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, speaks during a parliamentary session.  Photo credit: UNIAN 

Yuriy Lutsenko, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, has said during a parliament session on November 6 that he will offer his resignation.

"Just so there are no doubts, so that [nobody thinks] anyone's clinging to power, I will submit my resignation statement to the president of Ukraine and you in the parliament will have to look into this issue. I'm asking you to do it this week," he said.

This comes days after the death of activist and political advisor from the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson Kateryna Handziuk who passed away on November 4 from injuries sustained in an acid attack three months earlier.

READ MORE: Ukrainian Activist and Whistleblower Official Dies After Acid Attack

Human rights and civic organizations from all around Ukraine called for the dismissal of Lutsenko, alongside Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and the leadership of Kherson region police. In a statement, they accused the officials of obstructing the investigation into Handziuk's murder and sabotaging the law enforcement reform in general.

“We are outraged by the state of investigations into attacks and murders of civic activists and demand the dismissal of the leadership of the Kherson police, who, from the very start, sabotaged the investigation into the attack on Kateryna Handziuk," the statement reads.

READ MORE: Civil Society Demands High-Profile Dismissals Following Activist’s Murder

Iryna Gerashchenko, the first deputy speaker of the parliament, has already said that she would not support Lutsenko's resignation.

"We, the pro-government coalition, do not support Lutsenko's dismissal," she said during the session. "I'm asking the head of the parliament to put this [issue] up for voting and we will see that the coalition will not vote for it."

During his resignation speech, Lutsenko also appeared to throw shade at lawmakers who called for a separate investigative committee to look into the murder of Kateryna Handziuk calling it a "publicity stunt." Specifically, he mentioned reformist MP from  Petro Poroshenko Bloc Mustafa Nayyem.

"As head of the law enforcement system, I will submit my resignation statement today. It is now up to you to decide whether you want Mustafa Nayyem to lead investigations and establish the guilty from a TV screen or the law enforcement agencies that are legally responsible for it," Lutsenko said on November 6.

But despite Lutsenko's protest, the creation of the temporary investigative committee into attack on Handziuk within the parliament was subsequently supported by the MPs in a voting. 259 lawmakers voted for it, which is 33 more than needed to approve the decision. 

The 18-member committee will be headed by independent MP Boryslav Bereza. Poroshenko Bloc lawmaker Serhiy Alekseyev will serve as the deputy head.