Crimes That are Vestiges of Local Customs

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Crimes That are Vestiges of Local Customs

 

in Soviet criminal law, crimes that infringe on the family relations established in socialist society and create a threat to the life, health, and other interests of the individual. Such crimes still occur as vestiges of the past in parts of Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, and the Caucasus, where polygamy, blood feuds, and the abduction of women were widespread before the October Revolution of 1917. Owing to the successes in building socialism, many of these vestiges have disappeared completely or are encountered very rarely. The establishment of criminal liability for such crimes is extremely important.

In the Criminal Code of the RSFSR the norms concerning liability for these crimes appear in a separate chapter. The criminal codes of several other republics prescribe liability for them in the chapters dealing with crimes against the life, health, and other rights of the individual. No provision is made for the elements of such crimes in the criminal codes of the republics where they do not occur (Ukrainian and Byelorussian SSR’s and the Soviet Baltic republics).

Crimes that are vestiges of local customs are divided into two groups: crimes related to the custom of blood feuding and crimes that infringe on the freedom and equality of women in the family and domestic life. The first group includes, for example, refusal to achieve a reconciliation (art. 231 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR). In areas where blood feuds still exist, special reconciliation commissions have been established. They identify cases of blood feuding so that steps can be taken to reconcile the enemies. Refusal to achieve a reconciliation by the relatives of the person killed, failure to appear before the reconciliation commission without good reason, and other such actions are punishable by exile for up to two years or banishment from a particular area for up to three years. Murder during a blood feud is considered a separate grave crime and is punishable by deprivation of freedom for eight to 15 years (with or without exile) or by death.

Crimes that infringe on the freedom and equality of women in the family and domestic life include acceptance by the bride’s parents or relatives of a bride payment in money, livestock, or other property (punishable by deprivation of freedom for up to one year with confiscation of the payment or corrective labor for the same period with confiscation of the payment) and payment for a bride by the groom, his parents, or relatives (punishable by corrective labor for a period of up to one year or public censure). Other crimes in this category include forcing a woman to marry or to continue marital cohabitation, preventing a woman from marrying, and abducting a woman for the purpose of marriage (all punishable by deprivation of freedom for up to two years), as well as concluding, according to local custom, a marriage agreement involving a person who has not reached marriageable age (punishable by deprivation of freedom for up to two years or corrective labor for up to one year).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.