Aims of this master thesis are to define criminal law of totalitarian states, namely on a basis of historic manifestations of totalitarianism: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, during the period of Stalinism, German Reich and Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia during the period of 1945-1950, to give a detailed analysis of the penal systems of the mentioned states, to find differences and similarities and to determine whether a pattern exists.
Areas of law that are hereby covered consist of substantive and procedural criminal law, jurisprudence, functioning of secret police and extra-judicial measures, which are thoroughly examined in theory, as adopted legislation and as well as their application in practice.
It is typical for totalitarianism that (criminal) law becomes just another tool of political regimes. Particularly evident is the erosion of basic postulates and principles of rule of law, such as the legality principle and lex certa. Legal and statutory analogy are introduced to substantive criminal law, as well as a high number of offenses against the State and its political structure. Main characteristic in political cases is a serious reduction of defendant’s legal guarantees, whereby the courts are expected only to confirm the charges. Penal sanctions for political offenses are rigorous – capital punishment is often prescribed and carried out. Arbitrariness in the use of law is common. There also exist repressive measures of the secret police which are explicitly outside the law.
Concepts and principles of law on which the totalitarian criminal law stands upon are identical, regardless of the regime’s political orientation, in respect to its own ideology.