Epifanov A.E. Institutional and Legal Framework for the Commissions’ Activities for Establishing and Investigating Nazi Crimes

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lc.jvolsu.2017.4.7

Alexander E. Epifanov, Doctor of Juridical Sciences, Professor of Department of Constitutional and Municipal Law, Volgograd State University, Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Introduction: the article presents from historical and legal viewpoints the forms and methods of work of the Extraordinary State Commission for establishing and investigating the atrocities of Nazi invaders and their accomplices, and the damage caused by them to citizens, collective farms, public organizations, state enterprises and institutions of the USSR (ESC), formed on November 2, 1942 by the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and its commissions of assistance, created in the occupied regions of the Soviet Union. For this purpose, through the use of the archival materials the author analyzes such forms and methods of activities of these committees as meetings; carrying out the investigative actions at the scenes of Nazi atrocities with going out there by the special commissions for establishing and investigating the most monstrous atrocities of the Nazis; publishing or disclosing in any other form of incriminating materials about the atrocities of the Nazis; reference work. By applying the scientific methods, especially the method of historicism, there are generalized such methods of obtaining data on war crimes, as investigation of the crime scenes of fascist aggressors; interviewing victims, witnesses and criminal participants; expert investigation, collecting documentary data. Results: the author analyzes the procedure for the development and practical application of the ESC instructions on the procedure for establishing and investigating the crimes of the German fascist invaders; the damage to the state, cooperative and public enterprises, institutions and organizations, as well as the collective farms; on the procedure of determining the damage caused to Soviet citizens and their property by the predatory actions of the Nazi occupiers; on determining the damage caused to the artistic, cultural and historical values of the peoples of the USSR, as well as to buildings, equipment and utensils of the religious worship. Conclusions: the ESC accumulated the unparalleled experience and incriminating materials that allowed in its entirety to take into account the human losses and material damage suffered by the Soviet Union from the aggression of Nazi Germany; they formed the basis of the prosecution of Nazi war criminals and their accomplices among the Soviet citizens, including Nuremberg International Military Tribunal; they played a major role in propaganda activities both within the country and on the international stage; they were used and taken as a model by the similar structures in the countries under the occupation by Nazi Germany.

Key words: Extraordinary State Commission, acts, Nazi atrocities, damage done, forced labor.

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