PROBLEMS OF THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM FUNCTIONING IN THE
REICHCOMISSARIAT «UKRAINE» AS SEEN BY THE
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GERMAN OCCUPATIONAL POWER APPARATUS
Abstract. The German Occupational Administration at the Reichcommissariat «Ukraine» (hereinafter referred to as the RCU) met with the urgent needs of the legal regulation of the local population proper behavior and the creation of judicial bodies for this purpose. With their help, the occupational administration was given the opportunity to achieve some peace in local society and to regulate social relations. Therefore, we are interested in the evaluative judgments and analytical conclusions of the event participants themselves, and in particular, the representatives of the German government.
This problem has not yet become the subject of Ukrainian researchers’ attention. The exceptions are separate publications by O. Goncharenko, M. Kunitsky, and Y. Levchenko. But these researchers studied mainly the organizational structure and authority of local civil and criminal courts. Yet, determining the effectiveness of their work, they used the methods of modern humanity science. Therefore, there is such a valuable source as the testimony of immediate participants in the event which left beyond their view.
The author notes that the judicial system in the RCU was represented by special, German, civil and criminal local courts. The largest among them were the German and local courts, which were authorized to hear civil and criminal cases. The German courts, especially after they had been transferred to some of the cases of the local population, were overburdened by the need for a large number of court hearings and due process preparation. But in order to organize the full work of these bodies there was a lack of qualified legal staff, and some of the workers sent to Ukraine were called up to the army or sent to perform other work.
The findings indicate that in order to save staff resources and to focus on other, more strategic areas of work, the German PKU administration created local civil and criminal courts. But extension of their authority did not mean giving them the power to make their own decisions. The cases dealt with by these courts concerned small property disputes, divorce of local residents, fixation of changes in civil status, and small crimes. Considering the powers of the local courts, it was suggested to do everything possible to ensure the unambiguous authority of the German authorities everywhere. It was recognized as necessary to allow local residents to appeal to a German court even in cases of legally qualified local court decisions. It was also determined that the role of the cassation institutions was entrusted to the Habitat Commissariat and the Legal Departments of the General Commissariat, which were entitled to overturn any lawful decision of the local courts. All in all, the German administrators appreciated the local court experience. Former RCU executives, planning to return to Ukraine again and analyzing their previous experience, suggested to introduce into the structure of enlarged habitat commissariats a position of a law-educated employee who would oversee the work of both German and local judicial authorities.
The author notes the importance of the views of these officials on the problem of establishing a court system for the local population. They admitted that, unlike other spheres of public life, during of occupation, they were unable to find anything that could be relied upon in the creation of these courts. The Bilshovyk judges fled, and the premises of the courts were either destroyed or used for other purposes. There was also no staff of secretaries and clerks. But the main problem was that the German administration could not use "Bilshovyk law". The positive aspects of the RCU administration activities were the creation of civil and criminal legislation adapted to the needs of the local population. In planning to return to Ukraine, these executives offered to find former law enforcement officers who could retreat with them and organize their retraining on the basis of existing camps.
Keywords: official, RCU, court, personnel, the habitat commissioner.
Received by the editorial board: 3.12.2019
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