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Former Romanian President Ion Iliescu Standing Trial for Crimes Against Humanity

Along with 13 others, Iliescu was indicted for the violent clampdown on demonstrations in June 1990 that ended with more than 1,000 casualties. 

14 June 2017

The trial of former Romanian President Ion Iliescu (pictured), former Prime Minister Petre Roman, and other high-ranking officials allegedly involved in quashing peaceful protests in central Bucharest in June 1990 has begun, Reuters writes.

 

The trial started yesterday, a symbolic date marking 27 years after the events under review happened. A press release of the prosecution, cited by Romania Libera, said that Iliescu, along with Roman and others, “decided to violently repress a protest that was going on at the time in University Square, a decision that led to a violent attack on the civilian population on 13 June, which involved military troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of National Defense, and the Romanian Intelligence Service.” The crackdown led to four deaths, three people shot, and approximately 270 people wounded, the prosecution said.

 

Iliescu is believed to have summoned miners from Valea Jiului, Romania’s biggest mining region, some 300 kilometers (186 miles) west of Bucharest, to disperse the protesters – although later Iliescu said that they had come to the capital spontaneously.

 

Roman said that he considered this accusation “mystifying, and a false one,” given that the causes of the violence in June 1990 have not been clarified, AGERPRES writes. This makes his indictment less an accusation in the judicial sense, and more of a political opinion, he said.

 

Miron Cozma – the leader of the miners’ union, who is one of the 14 people facing trial – said that the accusations against him are wrong and abusive, and that he had actually been a victim of the June 1990 events, according to AGERPRES. He also said that he had a “moral obligation” toward the miners and their families to prove that they didn’t hurt or kill anybody at that time.

 

 

  • The Romania’s High Court of Cassation and Justice ruled one year ago that an investigation into the 1989 Romanian revolution can be reopened.

 

  • In the aftermath of the revolution – and before the country’s first democratic presidential elections in May 1990, which Iliescu won – protests broke out in the capital against the course of political events, which included the appointment of former communist figures to high-ranking government positions.

 

  • Iliescu was accused of murder in 2005 connected to same events, but those charges were dropped two years later. He has consistently denied the allegations, which he has dismissed as absurd. The case was reopened in March 2015, half a year after a European Court of Human Rights verdict requiring Romania to reopen the investigation into the June 1990 file, according to evz.ro

Compiled by Ioana Caloianu

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