Exemption from Criminal Liability: the Problems of the Implementation of the Presumption of Innocence Principle

Iveta Vitkutė Zvezdinienė

Abstract


This article deals with the problems of the procedural implementation of the exemption from criminal liability. The methods of systematic analysis, comparison and synthesis are applied for the investigation of the debate on the exemption from criminal responsibility and the arguments for the procedural legal implementation of this institute in certain stages (pre-trial investigation) of criminal proceedings. The hypothesis of the article is that the exemption of a person from criminal responsibility in the pre-trial stage ignores the presumption of innocence principle. In the article a strong emphasis is put on the content of the presumption of innocence principle, and, given the urgency of the problem, the analysis of the implementation of the institute of the exemption from criminal liability in the pre-trial stage. It is considered whether the prosecutor’s discretionary (optional) termination of the pre-trial investigation established in Article 212 Paragraph 1 Item 3-8 of the Criminal Code does not violate the innocence principle. The concept of criminal liability and the understanding of its content are discussed in the article. The analysis allows to draw a conclusion that the existing criminal legal and criminal procedural laws are regulated in such a way that if a person is exempted from criminal liability in the pre-trial stage and the grounds and motives for the exemption of criminal liability are recorded in the procedural documents, the presumption of the innocence principle is ignored. The author suggests to settle the procedural legal relationships in a way that only a court could decide whether to exempt a person from criminal responsibility or not. At present, the provisions of Article 212 Paragraph 1 Item 3-8 of the Criminal Code unduly extend the discretion of the prosecutor.

Keywords


exemption from criminal liability; criminal liability; the presumption of innocence

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236