Public Nature of Judicial Proceedings

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Public Nature of Judicial Proceedings


in Soviet criminal procedure, the legal requirement that agencies of inquiry, the investigator, the procurator, and the court carry out their work to uncover crimes on the basis of their authority in the interests of the Soviet state and society, regardless of the discretion of interested persons. Within the limits of their authority, these bodies are obliged to initiate criminal cases in every instance where the signs of a crime are discovered and to take all steps envisioned by law to see that no crime goes undiscovered, no criminal evades responsibility, and, at the same time, no citizen is illegally or without reason held criminally responsible or subjected to any other illegal restriction of rights.

As an exception to the general rule, cases involving certain crimes in which the degree of social danger depends on the reaction of the victim are instituted only upon the complaint of the victim and may be stopped if the victim and the accused are reconciled; this is true, for example, in instances of criminal insult, assault, or violation of copyrights or patents. If one of these crimes is of particular social significance, however, or if the victim is unable to defend his rights himself, the procurator may institute proceedings without the victim’s complaint. In this instance, the case may not be stopped if the parties are reconciled. For every case that is instituted, regardless of the nature of the crime, state agencies are obligated to investigate thoroughly, completely, and objectively the circumstances of the case, ensure that persons participating in the case have the opportunity to exercise their rights, and then reach a decision in accordance with the law on the basis of the circumstances established in the case.

In civil procedure, cases are usually instituted by the statements of interested persons, and in many instances the further progress of the case also depends on them. Because of the authority given them, however, the procurator and court direct proceedings to defend state and social interests and the rights and legal interests of citizens. For example, the court may refuse to accept a withdrawal of claims by the plaintiff or an acknowledgment of claim by the defendant and may not sanction a settlement agreement in view of the revealed circumstances of the case.

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