A Difficult Matter to Clarify



An attempt to clarify the circumstances of the revolution was made in February 2000, when the Supreme Court sentenced two army generals who contributed to the reprisal of the revolution to 15 years of prison. Both had joined the NSF in December 22nd 1989 and were members of the first “revolutionary” government. They are general Victor Stanculescu, former minister of industry and minister of defence, and general Chitac, former minister of police.

Their trial brought criticism from both fractions of the former NSF (the Democratic Social Party of Mr. Iliescu, which was in opposition, and the Democratic Party of Petre Roman, which was in the government coalition). They claimed that the trial had been unfair and suggested amnesty for the officers who had been involved in the killings during the revolution. The political interest in hiding the truth and the responsibilities about the events of the revolution was very high.

The elections of November 2000 brought Mr. Iliescu back to power. The recently appointed General Prosecutor, Joita Tanase, declared “extraordinary appeal” at the Supreme Court decision for generals Stanculescu and Chitac. The General Prosecutor has this right based on Romanian law. Dan Voinea, the prosecutor who initiated the trial of Stanculescu and Chitac, received a lower-rank job.

The Supreme Court should try the Stanculescu-Chitac case again. As independence of justice in Romania is debatable and political pressure is very high in this case, the result of the trial is hard to predict.

In another case, president Iliescu issued a decree of pardon for three army officers who had been sentenced to prison for the killings in Timisoara. The current government propaganda claims that it is bad to discuss about the role of the Army in the reprisal of the revolution, as the Army is an important factor for the stability of the society, and it is not wise to reduce the trust that Romanian people has in its Army.