General Military Court

General Military Court (Heneralnyi viiskovyi sud). The highest judicial body in the Hetman state. It was formed in 1654 during Bohdan Khmelnytsky's hetmancy and was based on the Cossack company and regimental courts. The hetman was its president, but in practice one of the two general judges, the hetman's permanent deputy, normally presided over it. The court was a collegial institution, consisting also of other members of the General Officer Staff and of notable military fellows, who served on the bench in important cases. Usually, however, only one judge heard a case; he was aided by a judicial scribe. For those disagreeing with regimental or company court rulings, the General Military Court served as an appellate court; for members of the General Officer Staff and individuals under the hetman's special protection it served as a court of the first instance. Decisions of the court could be appealed only to the hetman. In the 18th century the court came under the jurisdiction of the General Military Chancellery. In 1764 it was subordinated to the Little Russian Collegium. The Russian government formally abolished the court in 1781, when it reorganized the Hetman state into three vicegerencies, but the court continued functioning until 1790.




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