27 years since the Romanian Revolution. Many victims, no one held responsible


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27 years are commemorated these days from the Romanian Revolution that toppled down the communist rule. Over 1,000 people died, while another 3,000 were injured in the bloody conflict.

Initially closed down, the Revolution case has been re-opened this year, with prosecutors resuming the investigation, which they say, has been superficially conducted. No one has been found guilty in the most painful collective trial in Romania’s recent history.

Two former generals were convicted at some point, put behind bars, but they served too short jail time due to their old age. Both of them died, general Victor Athanasie Stanculescu passed away this year.

In November, military prosecutors dealing with the Revolution File have decided to extend prosecution for crimes against humanity. The investigators say they envisage the “new political and military leadership” in power after December 22, 1989, arguing that to maintain the power, the new political and military leadership after 1989 caused the death of a large number of people.

“The documents in the file reveal that in order to retain power, by the actions and measures taken, the new political and military leadership instituted after the date of 22.12.1989 led to the killing, wounding by gunshots, damaging of the physical and psychological integrity, or to the imprisonment of a number of people, deeds that are circumscribed to the typical conditions for crimes against humanity,” the release reads.

Prosecutors also say that in December 1989 there was “a generalized attack”, as evidenced by “the large number of localities where armed incidents took place.”

“The way the attack took place reveals the existence of a plan by which action was taken, a plan that aimed to create a state of confusion among the armed forces, by dividing the leadership of the Ministry of National Defence and by spreading orders, reports and false information, taking the population in the street and arming it, namely the apparent creation of a ‘civil war’ in which armed units belonging to the Ministry of National Defence and to the Ministry of Interior, or to the same ministry, got confronted, in order to take over power and to offer legitimacy for the new leaders,” the release reads.

Moreover, the military prosecutors said that “implementation of this plan involved the Romanian Television which broadcasted alarmist and sometimes false communiqués, cutting off telephone connections and bringing of former military personnel loyal to the new political-military leadership to lead the ministries of force, consequently generating a psychological and media ‘war’ that has led to numerous victims.”

People were dying mowed down by bullets on the stairs of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Timisoara on December 18, 1989, after the army started to shoot at the youngsters who took the streets to voice their outrage against the communist dictatorship.

December 18 was also the day when tens of bodies were stolen from the morgue in Timisoara and taken to Bucharest and cremated, with the ash being thrown in the sewage. It was called the “Rose” operation, with local military and political leaders from Timisoara being involved.

The protesters’ repression in Timisora had started a day ago, but it continued on December 18. Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s wife, Elena Ceausescu ordered that 40 (43 other sources claim) bodies should be cremated in Bucharest.

Events sum up

  • December 19, 1989. Mass protests in Timisoara, the army deployed in garrisons.
  • December 20, 1989. The revolutionists get out on the Opera’s balcony, declaring Timisoara the first city released from the communist regime.
  • December 21, 1989. Bucharesters took the streets as well, shouting “Down with Ceausescu!”, “Freedom!”. Blockade set up downtown the capital, in front of the famous “Intercontinental” Hotel. First dead reported in Bucharest.
  • December 22, 1989. The National Salvation Front founded, with Ion Iliescu on the council’s list.
  • December 23, 1989. The fight with the alleged” terrorists escalates. Hundreds of innocent people, mostly youngsters, die.
  • December 24, 1989. Dictator Ceausescu’s fate is sealed. Ion Iliescu signs the foundation of the Exceptional Military Tribunal that sentences the Ceausescus to death.
  • December 25, 1989. Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu are shot.
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