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NCJ Number: 50171 Find in a Library
Title: POPULAR PARTICIPATION IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE IN THE SOVIET UNION - COMRADES' COURTS AND THE BREZHNEV REGIME
Author(s): G SMITH
Date Published: 1974
Page Count: 15
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF COMRADES' COURTS IN THE SOVIET UNION AND THE LEGALITY OF THEIR STATUS UNDER THE BREZHNEV REGIME IN VIEW OF RECENT CONCERNS WITH PROCEDURAL AND SUBSTANTIVE RIGHTS.
Abstract: ACCORDING TO COMMUNIST DOCTRINE, THE PUBLIC IS TO BE EDUCATED TO THE EXTENT THAT THE COLLECTIVE SENSE OF RIGHT OR WRONG, I.E., THE COMMUNIST MORALITY, BECOMES SO INGRAINED THAT SOCIAL PRESSURE REPLACES LAW AS THE SOCIAL CONTROL MECHANISM. THE VERY CONCEPT OF LAW IS SOCIALIZED, WITH THE LAW PROTECTING THE SOCIAL ORDER RATHER THAN THE INDIVIDUAL. SOVIET LAW INCLUDES COMPREHENSIVE CRIMINAL STATUTES AND ADDITIONALLY IMPOSES SANCTIONS THAT ARE NOT CLASSIFIED AS CRIMINAL PUNISHMENT FOR OFFENSES THAT ARE NOT CALLED CRIMES. A PRINCIPAL INSTITUTION FOR MOBILIZING POPULAR PARTICIPATION IN IMPOSING NONCRIMINAL SANCTIONS UPON OFFENDERS IS THE COMRADES' COURT SYSTEM. EACH COMRADES' COURT IS A NONPROFESSIONAL THREE-MEMBER TRIBUNAL POPULARLY ELECTED TO RULE ON MINOR DISPUTES BETWEEN PERSONS IN FACTORIES, HOUSING UNITS, AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS. DURING THE MORE THAN 50 YEARS OF EXISTENCE, COMRADES' COURTS HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO THREE COUNTERVAILING LEGAL IDEOLOGIES: UTOPIAN TREND, STRESSING THE NEED FOR INFORMAL DISPUTE SETTLEMENT; DISTATORIAL TREND, EMPHASIZING RULE BASED ON FORCE AND UNRESTRAINED BY LAW; AND BUREAUCRATIC TREND, CONSIDERING THE IDEA THAT LAW MUST BE CLEAR AND OBEYED AND ENFORCED UNIVERSALLY. THE MODEL STATUTE OF 1959 ESTABLISHED COMRADES' COURTS AT ENTERPRISES, INSTITUTIONS, ORGANIZATIONS, HIGHER AND SPECIALIZED SECONDARY SCHOOLS, COLLECTIVE FARMS, APARTMENT BUILDINGS, AND RURAL VILLAGES AND SETTLEMENTS. THE COURTS HAVE A DUAL FUNCTION: (1) TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE RULES OF SOCIALIST SOCIETY, THEREBY PREVENTING ACTS THAT ARE DETRIMENTAL TO SOCIETY; AND (2) TO PUNISH AND REEDUCATE VIOLATORS OF ESTABLISHED LAWS AND PRESCRIBED BEHAVIOR PATTERNS. MEASURES TAKEN TO BRING POPULAR JUSTICE UNDER LEGAL CONTROL IN THE BREZHNEV REGIME ARE EXAMINED, AND THE ADOPTION OF SOCIALIST LEGALITY, A CONCEPT RELATED TO THE WESTERN CONCEPT OF DUE PROCESS OF LAW, IS NOTED AS A CHARACTERISTIC OF THE POLITICS OF HIS LEADERSHIP. RATHER THAN ABOLISHING COMRADES' COURTS, THE BREZHNEV REGIME HAS CHOSEN TO RESTRICT THEIR JURISDICTION, REDUCE THEIR PRESTIGE, INCREASE THEIR SUPERVISION, AND TRANSFER MOST OF THEIR FUNCTIONS TO ESTABLISHED JUDICIAL INSTITUTIONS. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Court system; Rights of the accused; Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)
Note: REPRINT INDIANA LAW JOURNAL, V 49, N 2 (WINTER 1974), P 238-252
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50171

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