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(in criminal law), the ability of a person to account for his actions and control them—one of the necessary features characterizing the person guilty of committing a crime. In Soviet criminal law imputability is the basis of guilt and criminal responsibility for criminal actions (Basic Principles of Criminal Legislation of the USSR and the Union Republics, 1958, art. 11).
The ability to account for one’s actions presupposes the ability to understand the facts of the surrounding conditions and of one’s own actions and to assess correctly the social danger of one’s conduct. Ability to control one’s actions means the ability to act according to one’s will, ideas, and desires.
If the investigator or judge questions an offender’s sanity, the matter is decided by the findings of the court psychiatrist. The absence of sanity-insanity—excludes criminal responsibility.
In the criminal law of contemporary bourgeois states the question of sanity is decided in various ways. Thus, for example, the French criminal code (art. 64) stipulates that an act committed in the condition of insanity is not a crime. In the USA and Great Britain the principle of presumption of sanity is in effect—that is, the defense must declare and prove the insanity of the defendant, and the court may render the decision “guilty by reason of insanity.” This means that the condition of insanity does not exclude criminal guilt.
V. F. KIRICHENKO