Criminal Omission to Act

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Criminal Omission to Act

 

a variety of criminal behavior; a form of socially dangerous and unlawful behavior characterized by the failure of the guilty person to carry out a socially useful action that he could and should have carried out by virtue of the law, his professional duties, or his past behavior. It is a form of what is called continuing crime. A criminal omission to act consisting of the failure of an official or other citizen to carry out duties incumbent upon him may in some cases cause considerable harm to the interest of the state or to the rights and legitimate interests of citizens. Soviet criminal law defines several crimes that may result from the criminal omission to act, such as violations of driving rules and rules covering the operation of transportation vehicles, negligence, failure to render assistance to a sick person, and failure to report crimes. A criminal omission to act may be committed deliberately or through negligence. To establish a case of criminal omission to act, the following must be ascertained: (1) whether the accused had the duty to carry out certain actions that he is charged with failing to perform; (2) whether the accused was actually capable, in the specific conditions in which he found himself, to carry out the required actions; and (3) whether the accused actually failed to carry out (deliberately or through negligence) this action—that is, whether he in fact did not fulfill the duties incumbent upon him. In some cases the mere fact of criminal omission to act (for instance, failure to report crimes) creates in itself a corpus delicti; in other cases, the law provides that a corpus delicti obtains if the inaction led to harmful consequences (for instance, in negligence in the fulfillment of duties). In other words, a causal link between the criminal omission to act and its result must be established.

REFERENCE

Sovetskoe ugolovnoe pravo: Chast’ obshchaia. [Leningrad] 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.