Suzanna Stanik, the court's deputy head used the opening session to deny allegations of corruption made against her by Yushenko.

'Democratic resolution'

The hearing began as the president pledged to find a democratic solution to the political crisis.
Yushenko has refused to accept the president's
decree until the court rules on its legality [AFP]
"We are determined to find a democratic resolution to the parliamentary crisis in Ukraine," Yushenko told reporters in Brussels, after talks with Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission chief .

"We've never been saying and never been crudely speaking about any option of using force to resolve the situation," he said.

He also accused his rivals of bringing 20,000 people to the capital to take part in "false demonstrations" and said children had been paid two dollars a day to hold up flags at protests.

Since Yushchenko ordered the dissolution of parliament thousands of protesters have taken to the square every day.

'Political corruption'

The president issued the decree accused the coalition of Viktor Yanukovich, the prime minister, of "political corruption" by enticing MPs from other factions to its side.

"The problem is that in forming the coalition in parliament they applied unconstitutional mechanisms," he said on Tuesday.

Yushenko declined a EU offer to mediate in the crisis and urged European countries to stay out of the dispute.

"It is very important for our friends in Europe to have enough patience to allow the Ukrainian sides to resolve this situation, because the answer to the problem is in Ukraine," he told a news conference.

While Yushchenko was in Brussels, Yanukovych was in Strasbourg, holding a joint press conference with Rene van der Linden, the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.