Social Danger, Culpability and Punishability as Signs of Oath Violation

Keywords: oath, civil service, civil servant, oath-breaking, social danger, culpability, punishability, legal responsibility


The institution of oath is studied, the signs of oath-breaking are characterized. It is emphasized that a violation of the law (an offense) is not only a subjective guilty behavior, but also an internal psychological attitude, namely the offender’s negative attitude towards legal requirements and protected interests. Guilt stipulates for the subject’s awareness of the meaning of his actions and their consequences, not only as factual circumstances, but also in the sense of their socially dangerous illegal nature. If there is no guilt, there may not be any legal liability, and in this case, it may be a casus. It is noted that it is extremely difficult to determine the guilt in the offense of oath-breaking, and in some cases, it is even impossible, because it is often a subjective assessment. This is also due to the nature of the work performed by civil servants. It is emphasized that the criteria of punishability allows to make a clear distinction between different types of offenses, as each of them has the different degree of responsibility as consequence. Since the institution of oath is within the scope of those social relations that are fundamental in the civil service, given the content of the oath, it is obvious that the social danger of oath-breaking is quite significant and harmful to the state and to people. As can be seen, this act infringes on the foundations and organization of public power, civil service, human and civil rights and freedoms, and can lead to serious violations of certain aspects of functioning of the state, society, and any person. It is concluded that there are some characteristics of disciplinary case in oath-breaking case, namely public harm, which harms the object of the oath. However, it is not possible to state to determine what degree of gravity or harmfulness is inherent in this case, as there is no division of disciplinary cases in the legislation according to the degree of social danger. Although this division can be made on the basis of liability (gravity of punishment) for a particular disciplinary offense (for example, for some offenses the employee may get an admonition, and for others, he may receive a reprimand, and in case of re-offending he may be dismissed, although there are some offences the commitment of which immediately provides an opportunity to dismiss the offender from office and government agency).


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