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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69555 Find in a Library
Title: Social Courts in the German Democratic Republic - Bodies of Criminal Justice
Journal: International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice  Volume:4  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1980)  Pages:37-42
Author(s): E Buchholz
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The German Democratic Republic's (GDR's) social courts are as much an integral part of social life in the GDR as are the schools and kindergartens; they do valuable work in their sphere of combatting crime and other violations of the law.
Abstract: The social courts are dispute commissions set up in nationally owned enterprises, residential areas, and agricultural cooperatives. One reason for their successful operation is the low rate of crime, as economically, politically, and ideologically, the GDR is a stable State with a continuous and successful development in all spheres of social life. Furthermore, the majority of punishable acts are of a less serious nature. In most cases, an offender commits a punishable act only once and usually leads an honest and orderly life thereafter. Social courts are entrusted with the treatment of these minor offenses. Another reason for the success of such courts is that they were set up on available institutions that survived and that were continuations of old traditions. For example, commissions were built out of trade unions for settling labor disputes, and the arbitrators who worked in the courts of first instance before World War II continued to educate people to observe socialist legality and adhere to the rules of socialist life in the community. Thus, with all offenders whose offense is not too injurious to society and whose personalities are appropriate, the social courts order the citizen to apologize to their victim(s), to repair damages through efforts or paid indemnity, to retract insults from the public, to accept a reprimand, and to pay a fine within certain limits. The social court also exercises an educational influence on citizens through comradely and critical discussions; through their activities the social courts contribute to the development of a socialist awareness of State and law. Members of the courts are elected officials and must enjoy their colleagues' and fellow citizens' confidence. Activities of these officials do not bring them special privileges, since they are constantly under community surveillance. Seven references are provided.
Index Term(s): Conflict resolution; Dispute processing; Dispute resolution; German Democratic Republic; Misdemeanor; Neighborhood justice centers; Public education
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69555

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