Karol Łopatecki. The crime of treason in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in XVI century.

This article presents process of forming the definition of crime of treason in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in XVI centuryIts final catalogue was formed in the Second Lithuanian Status (1566).

Among these crimes were counted: collusion and taking out the troops to overthrow the authority, rebellion, agreement with or passing an information on to an adversary, surrendering a castle to an enemy, bringing to Lithuanian lands forces of an enemy, an escape to an enemy land. Before 1566, a definition of lèse-majesté, derived from a Roman law, had been widely used in jurisprudence.

Until 1588 it was possible to adjudicate Lithuanian citizens outside of parliamentDuring war it was even possible to do so outside the territory of the Commonwealth. All judgments were passed collegially by the king and council. The Third Lithuanian Status (1588) regulated this matter in the first chapter, article fourth, which guaranteed the nobility that these kinds of crimes (which could result in capital punishment and infamy), should be adjudicated during parliamentary sittings. Contrary to Polish solution, during trial, presence of Chamber of Deputies delegates was not allowed.

While exploring treason crimes jurisprudence in Grand Duchy of Lithuania, we can draw following conclusions:

1) nobility suspected of treason was temporary arrested, the suspected could be saved from an arrest only by royal safe-conduct 2) verdicts announced against nobility were extraordinarily harsh, it was common to practice severe penalties such as impalement and quartering 3) servants, who helped their masters commit the crime by fulfilling their commands, were also punished for treason.