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Report No. 43

3.4. Penalty for assuming dictatorial powers.-

In some countries, there are special provisions against the assumption of dictatorial powers, intended perhaps to prevent the resurgence of movements like Nazism and Fascism. Thus, the Penal Code of Argentina1 penalises any member of the Congress who gives dictatorial powers to specified persons or bodies of persons.

Similarly, the Draft German Penal Code2 has a section entitled "preparation of a Despotism" punishing anybody who undertakes to promote groups set up for the purpose of subversion, violence, etc., and who thereby pursues efforts directed against the existence of the Federal Republic or constitutional principles.

1. Section 227, Penal Code of Argentina.

2. Section 369, Draft German Penal Code.

3.5. We considered the advisability of adopting some such provision against the possible assumption of dictatorial powers by any group of persons. We came to the conclusion that so far as the criminal law is concerned, it would be preferable to check specific acts which are in the nature of various steps-in-aid for such attempts at assuming dictatorship, than to punish the final assumption of dictatorial powers. If the attempt succeeds, the provision will not be needed. If it has failed, it will not be difficult to establish the offence of attempt to wage war or preparing to wage war, for that is what the act really amounts to.



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