Prosecutors probe former Romanian president Ion Iliescu for crimes against humanity

Prosecutors probe former Romanian president Ion Iliescu for crimes against humanity
By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest October 22, 2015

Romanian military prosecutors have informed former president Ion Iliescu that they are investigating his role in the brutal repression of protests between June 13-15, 1990. Iliescu, at that time president of Romania, is suspect of crimes against humanity.

This is not the first time that Iliescu has faced investigation over the events that happened 25 years ago. During an earlier investigation, started in June 2005, prosecutors dropped most of the charges against him, including undermining state power, propaganda for war, genocide, inhuman treatment and complicity to torture.

The case is part of a broader set of investigations started in 1998 on the events of June 1990 and, broadly, in December 1989 – June 1990, when the communist regime was replaced by new institutions.

Military prosecutors have also started investigations into Virgil Magureanu, the head of the intelligence services SRI in 1990, also accused of crimes against humanity. Former defence minister Victor Athanasie Stanculescu has been invited in for hearings.

On October 21, the prosecution office of the highest appeals court in Bucharest announced that military prosecutors had resumed investigations into the repression of the protests on the morning of June 13, which resulted in the death of four individuals and serious injuries to three others.

The violence was started by groups of workers, mostly miners, targeting protestors. More than 1,000 people, mostly students and intellectuals, were beaten and arrested during the two days by groups of workers called in by President Iliescu to supress the so-called groups of fascists.

A former member of the communist nomenklatura, Iliescu had played a crucial role in the overthrow of the communist regime in December 1989 and in the establishment of new democratic institutions in 1990.