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Jury Trial and Adversary Procedure in Russia: Reform of Soviet Inquisitorial Procedure or Democratic Window-Dressing?

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Chapter Summary

The new Russian jury system is based on the Russian jury system which was itself the product of great reforms throughout Europe in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This chapter discusses the problem of judicial dependency on the executive branch and how the modern Russian theory of adversary procedure-with its notion of a distinct separation of power between prosecution, defense and the decision, left to the judiciary- was designed to counteract it. It describes the discussion of the extent to which the jury is actually replacing the judge as the arbiter of the guilt issue. The chapter discusses the factors that have allowed a massive reversal of acquittals in Russian jury cases. The author regrettable conclusion is that these ambitious reforms are looking more and more like democratic window-dressing for a system that is continuing to function as it did in Soviet times.

Keywords: democratic change; Europe; judicial reform; Russian jury system; Soviet theory



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