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ICCJ: Mineriad Case, returned to Military Prosecutors' office for criminal investigation repeat; ruling - final

mineriada

The magistrates of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, Romania's top court, have decided, on Thursday, in a final ruling, to return to the Military Prosecutors' office the case of the 1990 Mineriad, in which former President Ion Iliescu, former Prime Minister Petre Roman and former director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) Virgil Magureanu and others were the accused parties, ruling that the entire criminal investigation must be drawn up again, after all the evidence collected by the prosecutors was annulled.

The top court rejected on Thursday all the challenges submitted in the case by the General Prosecutors' office and the victims, upholding a decision of May 8, 2019 issues by a preliminary chamber judge, who deemed non-legal the indictment drawn up by military prosecutors and disposed the exclusion of the evidence administered during the criminal investigation.

In May 2019, the preliminary chamber judge admitted the requests and exceptions invoked by the accused in the case, including those raised by former President Ion Iliescu, the civilly-responsible party the Interior Ministry, as well as the exceptions raised ex officio by the magistrate.

Furthermore, the court regarded as null and void several measures in the criminal investigation, as well as decisions of the Military Prosecutors' office, among them the decision of June 9, 2005, by which criminal investigations were started against Ion Iliescu.

"Disposes the exclusion of all evidence administered during the criminal investigation. Returns the case to the Prosecutors' office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the Military Prosecutors' office section," the judge's decision mentions.

Practically, by this decision, the prosecutors need to draw up from the start a new investigation in the case.

On June 13, 2017, the Military Prosecutor's Office sent to trial: Ion Iliescu, at the time President of the Provisional Council for National Union (CPUN) and the President of Romania; Petre Roman, Prime Minister at the time, Gelu Voican Voiculescu, Deputy Prime Minister at the time, Virgil Magureanu, head of the Romanian Intelligence Service at the time, General (reserve), Mugurel Cristian Florescu, Deputy General Prosecutor and chief of the Military Prosecutors Directorate.

Moreover, also sent to trial were: Admiral (reserve) Emil "Cico" Dumitrescu, then member of the CPUN and head of the General Department for Culture, Media and Sports with the Ministry of Interior; Cazimir Ionescu, Vice-President of the CPUN; Adrian Sarbu, chief of cabinet and adviser to the Prime Minister; Miron Cozma, President of the Executive Office of the League of Free Mining Trade Unions in Valea Jiului; Matei Drella, union leader at the Barbateni mining exploitation; Plaies Cornel Burlec, Deputy Minister at the Mining Ministry; General (reserve) Vasile Dobrinoiu, commander of the Military Officers School of the Ministry of Interior; Colonel (reserve) Petre Petre, commander of the Military Unit 0575 Magurele, of the Ministry of Interior; Alexandru Ghinescu, head of the Bucharest Heavy Machinery Plant (IMGB).

The military prosecutors claim that, on June 11 and 12, 1990, the Romanian state authorities decided to initiate a violent attack against the protesters in Bucharest, who were mainly asking for the adoption of item 8 of the Timisoara proclamation and who were peacefully chanting their political opinions, which were opposite to those of the majority holding the political power at the time.

Involved in this attack were also, illegally, forces of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of National Defence, SRI, as well as more than 10,000 miners and other workers from several of the country regions, the prosecutors claim.

According to the Military Prosecutors' office, the attack took place in the morning of June 13, 1990, with the following consequences: 4 persons were shot dead, a number of 1,388 suffered physical and psychical damage and a total of 1,250 were arrested, for political reasons.

As part of the action, over 200 persons were picked up and transported to a military unit of the Interior Ministry in Magurele, where they were held until the afternoon of that same day, when they were freed, after a summary search.

Former President Ion Iliescu was accused by military prosecutors to have given the order for the forceful evacuation of demonstrators in University Square, including by the use of workers from the large industrial plants in Bucharest.

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