Emergency, State of

Emergency, State of

 

a special legal state declared in a country for a given period of time to cope with extraordinary circumstances and permitting the use of special measures to maintain order.

A state of emergency usually involves the establishment of agencies with special powers, the introduction of extraordinary security measures, and the extension of the competence of administrative bodies to include the right to suspend existing legislation.

In capitalist countries, a state of emergency in the form of martial law or a state of siege is usually proclaimed to counter a drastic intensification of the class struggle or an upsurge of a revolutionary or national liberation movement. It is also declared in the event of a war or a natural disaster. In Chile, for example, the military-fascist junta of Pinochet, in violation of the constitution, declared a state of internal war and then a state of siege in order to justify a reign of terror and lawlessness and the repression of Chilean patriots without inquest or trial.

The Constitution of the USSR (art. 121, par. 15) provides the Supreme Soviet of the USSR with the right to declare martial law in specific areas or throughout the entire country in the interests of the defense of the USSR.

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