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Report No. 80

3.11. U.S.S.R.-

In the U.S.S.R., the Constitution of 1977 provides as follows:-

"Article 151.-In the U.S.S.R. justice is administered only by the courts.

In the U.S.S.R. there are the following courts: the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R., the Supreme Courts of Union Republics, the Supreme Courts of Autonomous Republics, Territorial, Regional, and city courts, courts of Autonomous Regions, courts of Autonomous Areas, district (city) people's courts, and military tribunals in the Armed Forces.

Article 152.- All courts in the U.S.S.R. shall be formed on the principle of the electiveness of judges and people's assessors.

People's judges of district (city) people's courts shall be elected for a term of five years by the citizens of the district (city) on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot. People's assessors of district (city) people's courts shall be elected for a term of two and a half years at meetings of citizens at their places of work or residence by a show of hands. Higher courts shall be elected for a term of five years by the corresponding Soviet of People's Deputies.1

The judges of military tribunals shall be elected for a term of five years by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. and people's assessors for a term of two and a half years by meetings of servicemen. Judges and people's assessors are responsible and accountable to their electors or the bodies that elected them, shall report to them, and may be recalled by them in the manner prescribed by law.

Article 153.- The Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R. is the highest judicial body in the U.S.S.R. and supervises the administration of justice by the courts of the U.S.S.R. and Union Republics within the limits established by law. The Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R. shall be elected by the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. and shall consist of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, members, and people's assessors. The Chairmen of the Supreme Courts of the Union Republics are ex-officio members of the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R. The organisation and procedure of the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R. are defined in the law on the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R.

Article 154.- The hearing of civil and criminal cases in all courts is collegial; in courts of first instance cases are heard with the participation of people's assessors. In the administration of justice people's assessors have all the rights of a judge.

Article 155.- Judges and people's assessors are independent and subject only to the law.

Article 156.- Justice is administered in the U.S.S.R. on the principle of equality of citizens before the law and the court."

1. As to Section of People's Deputies, see Article 89.



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