a special system in the USSR for the review of court sentences, orders, and decrees that have entered into legal force. Unlike cassation, the sentences and other orders of all courts at every level may be reviewed under this system. Judicial supervision is carried out on the same fundamental grounds as apply under cassation.
Sentences and other judicial acts that have already entered into legal force may be reviewed only on the petition of a strictly limited number of officials, that is, only the procurator and the chairman or deputy chairman of a court to whom this right has been given by all-Union or republic legislation. This is in accord with Article 48 of the Basic Principles of Criminal Legislation of the USSR and the Union Republics. The review of a sentence on the grounds that it was too light or that the law pertaining to a more serious offense should have been applied must take place within one year after the sentence or order has entered into force. The review of an acquittal or a court order dismissing a case must take place within the same time period.
Appeals under judicial supervision in which the procurator has joined are heard by the appropriate plenums, presidiums, and judicial collegiums for criminal or civil cases of the Supreme Court of the USSR and the supreme courts of the Union republics; by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR and the military tribunals of the various service branches, military districts, fleets, and groups of forces; by the presidiums of the supreme courts of the autonomous republics; and by the presidiums of krai, oblast, city, autonomous oblast, and national okrug courts.
Upon hearing a case under its powers of judicial supervision, a court may deny the petition and affirm the sentence; it may vacate the sentence and either remand the case for a new hearing or dismiss it entirely; or it may reduce the sentence or apply the law under a less serious charge. Sentence cannot be increased under judicial supervision, nor can the law be applied under a more serious charge. Whenever a sentence is vacated on grounds that would suggest such an aim, the case is remanded for a new hearing.