Ukraine parliament agrees to dismissal of top prosecutor

Ukraine parliament agrees to dismissal of top prosecutor
Above: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

KIEV - Ukraine's parliament voted on Tuesday to approve a presidential proposal to dismiss the General Prosecutor, criticised by deputies and activists for failing to roll out reforms and bring justice for those killed in last year's "Euromaidan" revolution.

Vitaliy Yarema was appointed last June after the toppling of Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich following months of street protests.

He has since faced criticism for the slow pace of investigations into alleged crimes of the Yanukovich era against protesters, over one hundred of whom were killed in clashes with riot police.

"The unhealed wound of the Maidan hurts everyone, myself included," Poroshenko told parliament after the vote. "Punishing those responsible for the killing on the Maidan is the main task of the general prosecutor," he said.

Poroshenko himself has been criticised by relatives of those killed in the Kiev protests as nobody has yet been prosecuted for the deaths.

The motion to dismiss Yarema received 291 votes, substantially more than the 226 required for approval. Parliament later approved his deputy Viktor Shokin to take over the role of general prosecutor.

Overhauling Ukraine's judiciary is one of the targets of government's ambitious reform programme, agreed with the International Monetary Fund and other international lenders in exchange for billions in financial aid.

An IMF team has extended its current visit to Kiev, where it is in talks with Ukrainian authorities about boosting financial support. The Fund, along with Ukraine's other Western supporters, has said that any extra financial help will hinge on Kiev's ability to implement long-promised reforms.

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