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in criminal and civil proceedings, an investigation or judicial action that consists in the obtaining and recording of oral information, that is, evidence concerning circumstances that are important for a given case.
Soviet legislation stipulates that interrogation may be conducted only by legally authorized persons. At the stage of preliminary investigation, these persons are officials of agencies of inquiry, investigators, and procurators; at the stage of judicial examination and in civil procedure the court conducts the interrogation.
In the event that the persons interrogated do not speak the language in which the judicial proceedings are conducted, they are interrogated through an interpreter.
In the interrogation of children who have not attained the age of 14 (and in the interrogation of persons from 14 to 16 years of age, at the discretion of the interrogator) the participation of a teacher is mandatory. In addition to a teacher, parents or other legal representatives may also participate in the interrogation.
The Basic Principles of Criminal Procedure of the USSR and Union and Autonomous Republics of 1958 (art. 14) prohibits the seeking of evidence by force, threat, or other illegal measures. The use of illegal measures of interrogation is recognized by law to be a crime against the administration of justice (art. 179, Criminal Code of the RSFSR and articles of the criminal codes of other Union Republics).
At the stage of preliminary investigation, a record of each interrogation is drawn up. An interrogation conducted during a judicial investigation is recorded in the minutes of the court session.
In the legislation of contemporary bourgeois states, democratic principles of interrogation are formally proclaimed, for example, voluntary testifying, prohibition of the use offeree and other methods of intimidation, and the right of the accused to testify in the presence of his attorney. In practice, these norms are often violated. The police frequently resort to methods of interrogation involving the use of coercion and force, called “third-degree interrogation.” In the USA, for example, various “special” measures of coercion are used during interrogations, including “truth serums,” which weaken the will and dull the consciousness of the interrogated, and lie detectors, which are supposedly able to distinguish between true and false testimony. The stipulations in legislation that these methods may be used only with the consent of the interrogated are purely a formality since the refusal of the interrogated to give his consent is interpreted as proof of his guilt and of the falseness of his testimony.