President Park Geun-hye has become South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office.
Judges unanimously upheld parliament’s decision to impeach Park Geun-hye over her role in a corruption scandal involving her close friend, Choi Soon-sil.
Park Geun-hye now loses her presidential immunity and could face criminal charges.
There have been angry scenes outside the court. Police said two protesters had died.
The court ruling is the culmination of months of political turmoil and public protest. An election must now be held within 60 days.
On March 10, Park Geun-hye’s office said she would not be leaving the Blue House, South Korea’s presidential palace, nor making any statement.
At the heart of the drama lies Park Geun-hye’s close friendship with Choi Soon-sil.
Choi Soon-sil is accused of using her presidential connections to pressure companies to give millions of dollars in donations to non-profit foundations she controlled.
Park Geun-hye is alleged to have been personally involved in this, and to have given Choi Soon-sil unacceptable levels of access to official documents.
Parliament voted to impeach Park Geun-hye in December 2016 and the Constitutional Court has since been deciding whether to uphold or overturn this.
On March 10, a panel of eight judges ruled Park Geun-hye’s actions “seriously impaired the spirit of… democracy and the rule of law”.
The court said the president had broken the law by allowing Choi Soon-sil to meddle in state affairs, and had breached guidelines on official secrets by leaking numerous documents.
Park Geun-hye had “concealed completely Choi Soon-sil’s meddling in state affairs and denied it whenever suspicions over the act emerged and even criticized those who raised the suspicions,” it said.
However, the judges dismissed some charges, including accusations Park Geun-hye had infringed on freedom of the press by creating a media blacklist of cultural figures, and criticism of her response during the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster.