Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Jacqueline E. Ross and Stephen C. Thaman
Chapter 13: Special investigative techniques in post-Soviet states: the divide between preventive policing and criminal investigation
The fifteen independent republics which arose following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union are fascinating subjects of research in the transition from non-democratic, authoritarian legal norms to those compatible with democracy, international human rights norms, and due process. In the past, we have explored the developments in this realm in the area of lay participation in the criminal trial in the form of juries or mixed courts (Kovalev, 2010; Thaman, 2007), plea bargaining and the turn to adversary procedure (Kovalev, 2010; Thaman, 2008b).In this chapter we focus on the approach taken by twelve of the post-Soviet republics, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan1 in regulating secret investigative measures, such as wiretapping, bugging, use of undercover operatives, sting operations, etc., which impact on protected human rights of the citizenry, especially the right to privacy. These measures, which we will call ‘special investigative techniques’ (SITs)2 have a long history in Russia and the Soviet Union, where they were and are still mostly known as ‘operative-investigative measures’ (operativno-rozysknye meropriiatiia). The Soviet approach also borrowed from the pre-revolutionary practices of the Russian Imperial criminal police (sysknaia politsiia) and political police (okhranka) (Zharov, 2010; Zharov and Sprishevskii, 2012: 9–12).
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