The criminal justice system of the socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: The role of the public prosecutor (1943--1991)

Date of Completion

January 1997


History, European|Political Science, General|Sociology, Criminology and Penology




Studies of the criminal justice system have traditionally been within the domain of legal scholars. The development of political jurisprudence has directed scholarly efforts towards the political dimensions of the adjudicative process. Since politics is an authoritative allocation of values for a society, the criminal justice system, as the main instrument of social control, plays a unique role in the allocation of values. As a result, it has been subjected to an increased academic scrutiny of the social scientist. Most recently, there has been a comparative thrust to analyses examining criminal justice systems beyond the United States, particularly the countries of common law. Research on civil law countries has been less extensive.^ European scholars consider the law and related matters as something to be studied only by jurists. While philosophy of law is paid attention within the general theory of law, the political aspects of adjudication are entirely neglected. The study of criminal justice is fragmented into the study of criminal law and criminal procedure, which is less a study of the system and more the study of substantive and procedural rules. Yugoslav scholarship is devoted to analyses of the criminal justice actors within their normatively prescribed organizational setting and in terms of their normatively assigned functions.^ This dissertation is analyzing the role and functioning of the public prosecutor in Yugoslavia from its birth in 1943 until its disintegration in 1991. The linkages between the systems of criminal justice and prosecution on one side, and the political and social system on the other, are explained searching for the social and political causes of the legal and informal patterns. Transformations of the Office of Public Prosecution are analyzed within the context of political changes of the Yugoslav society. The public prosecutor is viewed as only one actor within the larger political context. Different demands that the Yugoslav political system places upon it prosecuting subunit are examined, together with the analysis of its responsive functioning. ^