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HOW WILL UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPOINT COMMITTEE HEADS? The four "non-presidential" caucuses in the Verkhovna Rada -- Our Ukraine, the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc -- failed on 30 May to pass a resolution according to which the 23 posts of parliamentary committee heads are to be distributed only among those parties, in view of the fact that United Ukraine and the Social Democratic Party gained the posts of speaker and two deputy speakers. The proposal to give 12 committees to Our Ukraine, seven to the Communists, and two each to the Socialist Party and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc was supported by 202 deputies out of the 220 who participated in the voting, UNIAN and Interfax reported. United Ukraine and the Social Democratic Party refused to vote. Parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn failed to gather a "conciliatory council" of the heads of six parliamentary caucuses on 30 and 31 May to discuss the impasse over the election of committee heads. JM
UKRAINIAN COURT REJECT SUIT AGAINST FORMER PROSECUTOR-GENERAL OVER GONGADZE CASE. Citing procedural faults and legal technicalities, the Pecherskyy District Court on 30 May rejected a lawsuit by Lesya Gongadze, the mother of slain journalist Heorhiy Gongadze, against former Prosecutor-General Mykhaylo Potebenko, AP reported. Lesya Gongadze sued Potebenko for violating her son's constitutional right to life by ignoring his requests for protection after he received threats. Heorhiy Gongadze disappeared in September 2000 and his decapitated body was later found in a forest outside Kyiv. Lesya Gongadze is expected to file a new lawsuit in the same court against President Leonid Kuchma, Potebenko, and prosecutors from Lviv for neglect, complicity, and other charges, the agency quoted Maria Sambur, a lawyer for the Reporters sans Frontieres' representative office in Kyiv, as saying. JM
PROSECUTORS CHARGE POLISH RADICAL AGRARIAN WITH SLANDER. The Appeals Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw has filed a lawsuit against Self-Defense leader Andrzej Lepper, charging him with slandering five politicians, PAP reported on 30 May. Speaking in the Sejm last November, Lepper accused Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski, and Civic Platform politicians Andrzej Olechowski, Donald Tusk, and Pawel Piskorski of accepting illicit payments from businessmen and gangsters (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 4 and 11 December 2001). "I don't worry, I'm not going to disavow anything," Lepper commented, adding that "I'll repeat in the court what I said in the Sejm." The Sejm lifted Lepper's parliamentary immunity in January, making it possible for prosecutors to bring him to court. JM
CENTRAL EUROPEAN PRESIDENTS MEET IN SLOVENIA. The ninth annual summit of 16 Central European presidents opened amid tight security on 31 May in Bled, which was a lakeside resort of Yugoslav King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic and communist dictator Josip Broz Tito, international and regional media reported. As is usual at such events, topics relating to the integration of postcommunist countries into Euro-Atlantic structures are expected to top the agenda. In one of his last official acts before his term of office runs out shortly, President Milan Kucan is host to his colleagues from Austria, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Yugoslavia. It is the largest single gathering of foreign leaders in Slovenia since that country gained independence in 1991. PM