Decree of the Plenum of the RF Armed Forces No. 1 dated January 27, 1999

Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation No. 1 dated January 27, 1999
“On Judicial Practice in Murder Cases”

In order to ensure the correct application of legislation providing for liability for intentionally causing death to another person, the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation decides to provide the courts with the following clarifications:

1. When considering cases of murder, which is a particularly serious crime, for the commission of which the most severe punishment from those provided for in Art. 44 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation of types of punishments, the courts are obliged to strictly comply with the requirement of the law on a comprehensive, complete and objective study of the circumstances of the case.
For each such case, the form of guilt must be established, the motives, purpose and method of causing the death of another person must be clarified, as well as other circumstances that are important for the correct legal assessment of the deed and the imposition of a just punishment on the guilty person must be investigated.

2. If a murder can be committed both with direct and indirect intent, then an attempted murder is possible only with direct intent, that is, when the deed indicated that the perpetrator was aware of the social danger of his actions (inaction), foresaw the possibility or inevitability the death of another person and wished for its occurrence, but the death did not occur due to circumstances beyond his control (due to the active resistance of the victim, the intervention of other persons, the timely provision of medical assistance to the victim, etc.).

3. It is necessary to distinguish between murder and intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm that caused the death of the victim, bearing in mind that in the case of murder, the intent of the perpetrator is aimed at depriving the victim of life, and when committing a crime under Part 4 of Art. 111 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the attitude of the perpetrator to the death of the victim is expressed in negligence.
When deciding on the direction of the intent of the perpetrator, one should proceed from the totality of all the circumstances of the deed and take into account, in particular, the method and instrument of the crime, the number, nature and localization of bodily injuries (for example, injuries to vital organs of a person), as well as the previous and subsequent behavior of the perpetrator and the victim, their relationship.

4. According to part 1 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation qualifies a murder committed without the qualifying signs specified in Part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and without extenuating circumstances, provided for by Art. Art. 106, 107 and 108 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (for example, in a quarrel or fight in the absence of hooligan motives, out of jealousy, based on revenge, envy, hostility, hatred arising from personal relationships).

5. In accordance with the provisions of Part 1 of Art. 17 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the murder of two or more persons, committed simultaneously or at different times, does not form a set of crimes and is subject to qualification under paragraph “a” of Part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and if there are grounds for this, also under other paragraphs of part 2 of this article, provided that the perpetrator has not previously been convicted of any of these murders.
The murder of one person and the attempted murder of another cannot be regarded as a completed crime – the murder of two persons. In such cases, regardless of the sequence of criminal acts, the deed should be qualified under Part 1 or Part 2 of Art. 105 and according to part 3 of Art. 30 and p. “a” part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

6. According to paragraph “b” part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation qualifies the murder of a person or his relatives, committed in order to prevent the lawful exercise by this person of his official activity or the fulfillment of a public duty, or for revenge for such activity.
The performance of official activities should be understood as the actions of a person within the scope of his duties arising from an employment agreement (contract) with state, municipal, private and other duly registered enterprises and organizations, regardless of the form of ownership, with entrepreneurs whose activities do not contradict the current legislation, and under the fulfillment of public duty – the implementation by a citizen of both the duties specially assigned to him in the interests of society or the legitimate interests of individuals, and the commission of other socially useful actions (suppression of offenses, reporting to authorities about a crime committed or being prepared, or about the whereabouts of a person wanted in connection with the commission of offenses by him, giving evidence by a witness or victim that exposes a person in committing a crime, etc.).
Close relatives of the victim, along with close relatives, may include other persons who are related to him, property (relatives of the spouse), as well as persons whose life, health and well-being are obviously dear to the victim due to established personal relationships.

7. According to paragraph “c” part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (the murder of a person who is obviously in a helpless state for the perpetrator), it is necessary to qualify the intentional infliction of death on the victim, unable due to his physical or mental state to defend himself, to actively resist the perpetrator, when the latter, committing the murder, is aware of this circumstance. Persons in a helpless state may include, in particular, the seriously ill and elderly, young children, persons suffering from mental disorders that deprive them of the ability to correctly perceive what is happening.
When qualifying the actions of the perpetrator under paragraph. “in” h. 2 Article. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation on the grounds of “murder involving kidnapping or hostage-taking” should be borne in mind that, within the meaning of the law, liability under this paragraph, Part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation comes not only for the deliberate infliction of death on the abducted person or the hostage, but also for the murder of other persons committed by the perpetrator in connection with the kidnapping or hostage-taking. The deed must be qualified in conjunction with the crimes under Art. 126 or art. 206 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

8. When qualifying a murder under paragraph “d” part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, it is necessary to proceed from the fact that the concept of special cruelty is associated both with the method of murder and with other circumstances indicating the manifestation of special cruelty by the perpetrator. At the same time, in order to recognize the murder as committed with special cruelty, it is necessary to establish that the intent of the perpetrator covered the commission of murder with special cruelty.
A sign of special cruelty is present, in particular, in cases where, before the deprivation of life or in the process of committing a murder, torture, torture or mockery of the victim was used on the victim, or when the murder was committed in a way that is known to the perpetrator associated with causing the victim special suffering (inflicting great number of bodily injuries, the use of a painful poison, burning alive, prolonged deprivation of food, water, etc.). Particular cruelty can be expressed in the commission of a murder in the presence of persons close to the victim, when the perpetrator was aware that by his actions he was causing them special suffering.
Mocking a corpse in itself cannot be regarded as a circumstance indicating the commission of a murder with particular cruelty. The committed in such cases, if there is no other evidence of the perpetrator’s manifestation of special cruelty before depriving the victim of life or in the process of committing a murder, should be qualified under the relevant part of Art. 105 and Art. 244 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which provides for liability for desecration of the bodies of the dead.
The destruction or dismemberment of a corpse for the purpose of concealing a crime cannot be grounds for qualifying a murder as committed with special cruelty.

9. A generally dangerous method of murder (clause “e” part 2 of article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) should be understood as a method of intentionally causing death, which, for the perpetrator, knowingly poses a danger to the life of not only the victim, but at least one more person (for example, by explosion, arson, firing shots in crowded places, poisoning water and food, which other people use in addition to the victim).
If, as a result of the generally dangerous method of murder applied by the guilty person, not only a certain person, but also other persons died, the deed must be qualified, in addition to paragraph “e” of Part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, according to paragraph “a” part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and in case of causing harm to health to other persons – according to paragraph “e” part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and under the articles of the Criminal Code, providing for liability for intentional infliction of harm to health.
In cases where the murder by explosion, arson or in any other generally dangerous way is associated with the destruction or damage of other people’s property or with the destruction or damage of forests, as well as plantations that are not included in the forest fund, the deed, along with paragraph “e” part 2 Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, should also be qualified under Part 2 of Art. 167 or part 2 of Art. 261 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

10. When qualifying a murder under paragraph “g” part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, it is necessary to take into account what is contained in Art. 35 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation defines the concept of a crime committed by a group of persons, a group of persons by prior agreement and an organized group of persons.
A murder is recognized as committed by a group of persons when two or more persons, acting together with the intent to commit murder, directly participated in the process of depriving the victim of life by using violence against him, and it is not necessary that the injuries that caused death were caused by each of them ( for example, one suppressed the resistance of the victim, deprived him of the opportunity to defend himself, and the other caused him fatal injuries). Murder should be recognized as committed by a group of persons even in the case when, in the process of committing actions by one person aimed at intentionally causing death, another person (other persons) joined him for the same purpose.
A preliminary conspiracy to kill involves an agreement, expressed in any form, between two or more persons that took place before the start of the commission of actions directly aimed at depriving the victim of life. At the same time, along with the co-perpetrators of the crime, other members of the criminal group may act as organizers, instigators or accomplices of the murder, and their actions must be qualified under the relevant part of Art. 33 and p. “g” part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
An organized group is a group of two or more persons united by the intent to commit one or more murders. As a rule, such a group carefully plans the crime, prepares the murder weapons in advance, distributes roles among the members of the group. Therefore, when a murder is recognized as committed by an organized group, the actions of all participants, regardless of their role in the crime, should be qualified as complicity without reference to Art. 33 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

11. According to paragraph “h” part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (murder for mercenary motives), a murder committed in order to obtain material benefits for the perpetrator or other persons (money, property or rights to receive it, rights to housing, etc.) or to get rid of material costs (return property, debt, payment for services, fulfillment of property obligations, payment of alimony, etc.).
As murder for hire should be qualified murder, due to the receipt by the perpetrator of the crime of material or other remuneration. Persons who organized a murder for reward, incited to commit it or assisted in committing such a murder, are liable under the relevant part of Art. 33 and p. “h” part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
Murder in the process of committing these crimes should be qualified as associated with robbery, extortion or banditry. The deed in such cases is qualified under paragraph “h” part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation in conjunction with articles of the Criminal Code providing for liability for robbery, extortion or banditry.

12. According to paragraph “and” part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, it is necessary to qualify a murder committed on the basis of a clear disrespect for society and generally accepted norms of morality, when the behavior of the perpetrator is an open challenge to public order and is due to the desire to oppose others, to demonstrate a disdainful attitude towards them (for example, intentionally causing death for no apparent reason or with using a minor excuse as an excuse to kill).
If the perpetrator, in addition to murder out of hooligan motives, committed other deliberate acts that grossly violated public order, expressed clear disrespect for society and were accompanied by the use of violence against citizens or the threat of its use, as well as the destruction or damage to other people’s property, then the deed must be qualified according to paragraph “and” Part 2 Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and the relevant part of Art. 213 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
In order to correctly distinguish between murder out of hooligan motives and murder in a quarrel or fight, it is necessary to find out who initiated them, whether the conflict was provoked by the perpetrator to use it as a pretext for murder. If the victim was the instigator of a quarrel or fight, as well as in the case when his unlawful behavior served as the reason for the conflict, the perpetrator cannot be held responsible for the murder out of hooligan motives.

13. Within the meaning of the law, qualification under paragraph “k” of Part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the murder of a certain person committed by the guilty in order to hide another crime or facilitate its commission excludes the possibility of qualifying the same murder, in addition to the specified paragraph, under any other paragraph of Part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which provides for a different purpose or motive for the murder. Therefore, if it is established that the murder of the victim was committed, for example, out of mercenary or hooligan motives, it cannot simultaneously be qualified under paragraph “k” of Part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
Murder involving rape or violent acts of a sexual nature should be understood as murder in the process of committing these crimes or for the purpose of concealing them, as well as committed, for example, for reasons of revenge for resisting the commission of these crimes.
Considering that two independent crimes are committed in this case, the deed should be qualified under paragraph “k” of Part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and, depending on the specific circumstances of the case, according to the relevant parts of Art. 131 or art. 132 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

14 – 15. Excluded. – Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of February 6, 2007 N 7.

16. Within the meaning of the law, a murder should not be regarded as committed with the qualifying signs provided for in paragraphs “a”, “d”, “e” of Part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, as well as under circumstances that are usually associated with the notion of special cruelty (in particular, multiple wounds, murder in the presence of persons close to the victim), if it was committed in a state of sudden strong emotional excitement or when the limits of necessary defense were exceeded.

17. A murder committed with qualifying signs provided for by two or more paragraphs of Part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, must be qualified for all these points. Punishment in such cases should not be assigned for each item separately, however, when assigning it, it is necessary to take into account the presence of several qualifying signs.
In cases where the defendant is charged with committing a murder with qualifying signs provided for by several paragraphs of Part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and the accusation on some of them was not confirmed, in the descriptive part of the verdict, it is enough to formulate a conclusion on the recognition of the accusation on certain points as unfounded, with proper motives.

18. The actions of an official who committed a murder in excess of official authority should be qualified according to the totality of crimes provided for in Part 1 or Part 2 of Art. 105 and part 3 of Art. 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
Similarly, in conjunction with Part 2 of Art. 203 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the actions of the head or employee of a private security or detective service who committed a murder in excess of the powers granted to him in accordance with the license, contrary to the tasks of his activity, should be qualified.

19. The murder of an employee of a place of deprivation of liberty or a place of detention or a convicted person in order to prevent his correction or out of revenge for the performance of his public duty, committed by a person serving a sentence of imprisonment or in custody, must be qualified, in addition to the relevant part of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, under Art. 321 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which provides for liability for the disruption of the normal activities of institutions that ensure isolation from society.

20. When imposing punishment for a murder, it is necessary to take into account all the circumstances under which it was committed: the type of intent, motives and purpose, the method, situation and stage of the commission of the crime, as well as the personality of the perpetrator, his attitude to the deed, circumstances mitigating and aggravating the punishment. Similarly, data relating to the identity of the victim, his relationship with the defendant, as well as the behavior preceding the murder, must be investigated.
The death penalty as an exceptional measure of punishment can be applied for the commission of a particularly serious crime encroaching on life, only when the need for its imposition is determined by special circumstances that indicate a high degree of public danger of the deed, and, along with this, extremely negative data characterizing the perpetrator as a person who poses an exceptional danger to society.

21. In each case of intentionally causing death to another person, it is necessary to establish the causes and conditions that contributed to the commission of the crime, and, if there are grounds for this, to respond to them in the manner prescribed by the procedural law.

22. In connection with the adoption of this Resolution, to recognize as invalid the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of December 22, 1992 N 15 “On judicial practice in cases of intentional murders” and to consider the Resolutions of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the USSR of 27 June 1975 N 4 “On judicial practice in cases of intentional murder” and September 22, 1989 N 10 “On the implementation by the courts of the guiding explanations of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the USSR when considering criminal cases of intentional murders.”

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