We may not understand the intricacies of litigation, but we know for sure that there is a certain presumption of innocence that protects us. This is one of the main principles of criminal law, which protects every person until proven guilty.
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What is the presumption of innocence?
In Latin, this phrase sounds like praesumptio innocentiae. Its meaning is that each person is initially considered innocent until his crime is proved by the accusing party. In criminal law in most countries, this provision is present in one form or another. In order to make a decision, a person’s guilt must be proved, and his own confessions as the only evidence cannot be taken into account. All inaccuracies in the evidence base, doubts should be interpreted by the court in favor of the accused. A sentence cannot be pronounced solely on the basis of doubts, without a compiled evidence base.
Initially, the very formulation of the presumption of innocence came from Roman law, where the presumption of integrity was applied in the proceedings of property disputes. Over time, the rule began to apply in criminal justice. In the writings of Roman lawyers, the phrase in dubio pro pre appears, which means “in case of doubt, take the side of the accused.” And in the XVIII century in Europe, the doctrine was formed by C. Beccaria in his work “On Crimes and Punishments”. In 1789, in the “Declaration of Human and Citizen Rights” adopted in revolutionary France, the presumption of innocence was proclaimed one of the legislative principles.
In Russia, this principle was first formulated by Radishchev, then the idea was picked up by the Decembrists. Society accepted it, and in the 19th century the presumption of innocence began to be actively mentioned in domestic legal literature. In criminal trials, it was customary to proceed from the assumption of innocence. But in the Soviet constitution the concept of the presumption of innocence never appeared, as in the Russian one. But the principle is still considered a binding legal norm.