THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS
Adopted at the Seventh (Special) Session of
the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
On October 7, 1977
VII. JUSTICE, ARBITRATION, AND PROCURATOR'S SUPERVISION
Chapter 20: COURTS AND ARBITRATION
Article 151. In the USSR justice is administered only by the courts.
In the USSR there are the following courts: the Supreme Court of the USSR, 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 USSR 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. The judges of military tribunals shall be elected for a term of five years by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and by 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 USSR is the highest judicial body in the USSR and supervises the administration of justice by the courts of the USSR and Union Republics within the limits established by law.
The Supreme Court of the USSR shall be elected by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and shall consist of a Chairman, Vice-Chairmen, members, and people's assessors. The Chairmen of the Supreme Courts of Union Republics are ex officio members of the Supreme Court of the USSR. The organisation and procedure of the Supreme Court of the USSR are defined in the Law on the Supreme Court of the USSR.
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 USSR on the principle of the equality of citizens before the law and the court.
Article 157. Proceedings in all courts shall be open to the public. Hearings in camera are only allowed in cases provided for by law, with observance of all the rule of judicial procedure.
Article 158. A defendant in a criminal action is guaranteed the right to legal assistance.
Article 159. Judicial proceedings shall be conducted in the language of the Union Republic, Autonomous Republic, Autonomous Region, or Autonomous Area, or in the language spoken by the majority of the people in the locality. Persons participating in court proceedings, who do not know the language in which they are being conducted, shall be ensured the right to become fully acquainted with the materials in the case; the services of an interpreter during the proceedings; and the right to address the court in their own language.
Article 160. No one may be adjudged guilty of a crime and subjected to punishment as a criminal except by the sentence of a court and in conformity with the law.
Article 161. Colleges of advocates are available to give legal assistance to citizens and organisations. In cases provided for by legislation citizens shall be given legal assistance free of charge.
The organisation and procedure of the bar are determined by legislation of the USSR and Union Republics.
Article 162. Representatives of public organisations and of work collectives may take part in civil and criminal proceedings.
Article 163. Economic disputes between enterprises, institutions, and organisations are settled by state arbitration bodies within the limits of their jurisdiction.
The organisations and manner of functioning of state arbitration bodies are defined in the Law on State Arbitration in the USSR.
Chapter 21: THE PROCURATOR'S OFFICE
Article 164. Supreme power of supervision over the strict and uniform observance of laws by all ministries, state committees and departments, enterprises, institutions and organisations, executive-administrative bodies of local Soviets of People's Deputies, collective farms, co-operatives and other public organisations, officials and citizens is vested in the Procurator-General of the USSR and procurators subordinate to him.
Article 165. The Procurator-General of the USSR is appointed by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and is responsible and accountable to it and, between sessions of the Supreme Soviet, to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
Article 166. The procurators of Union Republics, Autonomous Republics, Territories, Regions and Autonomous Regions are appointed by the Procurator-General of the USSR. The procurators of Autonomous Areas and district and city procurators are appointed by the Procurators of Union Republics, subject to confirmation by the Procurator-General of the USSR.
Article 167. The term of office of the Procurator-General of the USSR and all lower-ranking procurators shall be five years.
Article 168. The agencies of the Procurator's Office exercise their powers independently of any local bodies whatsoever, and are subordinate solely to the Procurator-General of the USSR.
The organisation and procedure of the agencies of the Procurator's Office are defined in the Law on the Procurator's Office of the USSR.
VIII. THE EMBLEM, FLAG, ANTHEM, AND CAPITAL OF THE USSR
Article 169. The State Emblem of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a hammer and sickle on a globe depicted in the rays of the sun and framed by ears of wheat, with the inscription "Workers of All Countries, Unite!" in the languages of the Union Republics. At the top of the Emblem is a five-pointed star.
Article 170. The State Flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a rectangle of red cloth with a hammer and sickle depicted in gold in the upper corner next to the staff and with a five-pointed red star edged in gold above them. The ratio of the width of the flag to its length is 1:2
Article 171. The State Anthem of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is confirmed by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
Article 172. The Capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is the city of Moscow.
IX. THE LEGAL FORCE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE USSR AND PROCEDURE FOR AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION
Article 173. The Constitution of the USSR shall have supreme legal force. All laws and other acts of state bodies shall be promulgated on the basis of and in conformity with it.
Article 174. The Constitution of the USSR may be amended by a decision of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total number of Deputies of each of its chambers.
Novosti Press Agency
© 1996 Robert Beard
Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837
Novosti Press Agency