- Formation of the Belarusian military prosecutor's office bodies
- Formation of the Belarusian transport prosecutor's office bodies
On June 26, 1922 the third session of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Byelorussian SSR with the view of supervising observance of laws and in the interests of combating crime adopted the Statute of the prosecutor's supervision and established the State Prosecutor's Office within the People's Commissariat of Justice.
The Prosecutor's Office's terms of reference included exercise in the name of the State of the supervision over legality of actions of the public institutions, public-service and private organizations and citizens. Supervision was performed by means of appealing against resolutions that were contradictory to law, instituting criminal prosecution, verifying legality of actions of the investigation, inquiry bodies and GPU agencies. The Prosecutor's Office was entrusted with supervision over legality and validity of court decisions as well as over observance of law in the custodial coercion places. The Prosecutor of the republic was the People's Commissar of Justice, accountable to the Presidium of the CEC of the BSSR. Pursuant to Art. 3 of the Statute, a prosecutor was granted a right to request necessary information and materials from all administrative institutions and officials of the republic. Such requests were obligatory for execution.
The prosecutor's department, being a part of the People's Commissariat of Justice of the BSSR, was directly subordinated to the Prosecutor of the republic. District, uyezd and area prosecutor's offices were local Prosecutor's Office bodies.
The Statute of the prosecutor's supervision in the BSSR was almost the same as such Statute in the RSFSR. The only difference was that the republic did not have provincial prosecutor's offices, as there were no provinces. Furthermore, the Statute of the prosecutor's supervision in the BSSR did not provide supervision over activities of the military as well as military and transport tribunals, as they did not form part of the judiciary in the BSSR.
According to the Statute of the prosecutor's supervision in the BSSR, prosecutors took part in dispositive sittings of courts, prosecuted in courts, had the right to lodge cassation and review appeals against sentences and rulings.
Within 1923 the Prosecutor's Office bodies of the republic were finally formed and worked hard in Minsk and at the local level to reinforce legality and combat crime. Only within the period from January 1 to November 15, 1923 the prosecutor's office examined 4863 cases.
On March 7, 1924 the Presidium of the CEC of the BSSR adopted a regulation "On consolidation within the BSSR of all Soviet Union territories where the Byelorussian population constitutes majority". In conformity with a new administrative and territorial division, it became necessary to organize prosecutor's offices in districts. A district prosecutor was vested with all the same rights as a provincial prosecutor in the RSFSR.
One should also refer to this period transfer of the investigation agencies to the Prosecutor's Office bodies. As it follows from the directive of the People's Commissariat of Justice of the BSSR dated March 11, 1924, area investigators were subordinated to an assistant district prosecutor and did not have the right to begin investigating cases without his consent. According to the Statute of judicial system in the BSSR, adopted by the second session of the CEC of the BSSR on July 15, 1924 and effective since August 1, 1924, investigators including those not belonging to the prosecutor's office system were appointed, moved and removed by the Prosecutor of the republic.
As before, the People's Commissar of Justice was at the head of the Prosecutor's Office and had two assistants – a senior one and a junior one. The prosecutor's department of the People's Commissariat of Justice of the BSSR was directly subordinated to him. The prosecutor's department consisted of prosecutors named prosecutors of the People's Commissariat of Justice, one of them fulfilled the prosecutor's duties of public political administration. There were also prosecutors at the Supreme Court of the BSSR, the Superior Court of the BSSR, standing sessions of the Superior Court. There were district prosecutors in districts.
In order to reinforce combating crime in transport area and to ensure more efficient supervision over legality in this sector of the national economy, the transport prosecutor's office within the Prosecutor's Office of the republic was created by the resolution of the Central Executive Committee and the Soviet of the People's Commissars (SPC) of the BSSR. It supervised over legality at the railway transport enterprises, being at that time under the jurisdiction of the commissioner of the People's Commissariat of Communications of the USSR at the SPC of the BSSR (the water transport prosecutor's office was established in the Byelorussian SSR in 1934).
The Prosecutor's Office of the USSR was established in 1933 but full centralization of the Prosecutor's Office bodies was not attained at once. In Byelorussia (like in the other republics) the Prosecutor's Office kept on forming part of the People's Commissariat of Justice. The Prosecutor of the republic was at the same time People's Commissar of Justice. After adoption of the resolution of the CEC and the SPC of the USSR dated July 20, 1936 the prosecutors of the union republics were singled out from the People's Commissariat of Justice and directly subordinated to the Prosecutor of the USSR.
In November 1936 structure of the Prosecutor's Office bodies was brought to conformity with the conferred prosecutor's functions. The following departments were created: a general supervision department, a department supervising the investigation, a department of judicial supervision in criminal and civil cases, a department of special cases, a department supervising places of detention, a department examining complaints.
After the Great Patriotic War had begun, more than 50 officers of the Prosecutor's Office of the Byelorussian SSR took an active part in the partisan movement and about 500 prosecutors and investigators from Byelorussia were in the ranks of the Soviet Army.
In December 1943 the operative group of the Prosecutor's Office of the Byelorussian SSR located in Moscow moved to the city of Gomel. Prosecutor's offices started to be created in the liberated districts. Their tasks were to restore legality and law order. The Prosecutor's Office of the USSR rendered great assistance to the Prosecutor's Office of the Byelorussian SSR in its formation and staff completion. Training courses for prosecutors and investigators were created.
The main tasks of the post-war period were: elimination of the fascist occupation consequences, reinforcement of legality and explanation of the current legislation. An important work was carried out to disclose and punish Nazi war criminals and their accomplices for their crimes committed during the Great Patriotic War.
Considerable efforts were required to solve the problems related to restoration of State and collective property, protection of property rights of those who had suffered during the occupation. Mass home-coming of the civil population and demobilized soldiers to Byelorussia made extremely acute examination of complaints and applications concerning housing problems. Special attention was drawn to observance of privileges enjoyed by the demobilized soldiers of the Soviet Army, partisans, underground fighters and their families. Shortly after the republic had been liberated from the fascist occupants, the Prosecutor's Office resumed its activities in full.
In the Statute of the prosecutor's supervision in the USSR approved by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on May 24, 1955, the prosecutor's supervision regulations were substantially codified and developed. The Statute not only determined general tasks of the prosecutor's supervision, regulated the prosecutor's office activities to ensure legality in public and social life areas, but also regulated the forms and methods of general supervision and other kinds of the prosecutor's supervision. The fact that the principle of legality of the prosecutor's supervision itself was determined in the Statute has an exceptionally important significance.
The Fundamentals of criminal proceedings and the Fundamentals of civil proceedings, the Codes of criminal procedure and civil procedure of the union republics adopted in 1958-1962 vested the prosecutor with a number of additional as compared with the Statute of the prosecutor's supervision in the USSR powers to supervise observance of laws in criminal and civil proceedings. At the same time Art. 20 of the Fundamentals of criminal proceedings and Art. 14 of the Fundamentals of civil proceedings imposed on him a duty to take opportune measures provided by the law at all stages of proceedings to eliminate any violation of law, irrespective whoever makes such violation.
On July 11, 1969 the Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted the Fundamentals of the labour correctional legislation of the Union of SSR and the union republics. A number of norms in this union law are dedicated to the prosecutor's supervision. Their content is evidence of an increased significance of the prosecutor's supervision over observance of laws when executing punishment of imprisonment, exile, banishment and corrective labour without imprisonment. The Fundamentals of the labour correctional legislation considerably extended the legal measures of the prosecutor's supervision. The prosecutor's ordinances and propositions concerning observance of rules of sentence service provided by the labour correctional legislation of the Union of SSR and the union republics are obligatory for administration of the correctional facilities and institutions executing court sentences for exile, banishment and corrective labour. Art. 10 of the Fundamentals clearly states that superior supervision on behalf of the State is carried out by any prosecutor and every prosecutor is obliged to take opportune measures to prevent and eliminate any violations of law, irrespective whoever makes such violations, and to bring those guilty to responsibility.
Article 104 of the Fundamentals of the labour legislation of the Union of SSR and the union republics adopted by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on July 15, 1970 provided control and supervision over observance of labour legislation being carried out by trade unions, Soviets of labour deputies and some other authorities. Superior supervision over strict observance of labour laws by all ministries and departments, enterprises, institutions and organizations and their officials was assigned to the Prosecutor General of the USSR.
During the years after adoption of the Statute of the prosecutor's supervision, social development and accordingly the legislation underwent substantial changes directly related to breakdown of the USSR and formation of an independent and sovereign Republic of Belarus.