The bodies of the two Romanians killed in the terrorist attack at In Amenas were repatriated on an army aircraft yesterday. The religious ceremony organised on the Otopeni Airport was attended by the victims’ families, FM Titus Corlatean, Chief of General Staff Stefan Danila and Algerian Ambassador in Bucharest Habib Chawky Hamraoui.Afterwards, the bodies of the two Romanian engineers – Tiberiu Costache (36) and Mihail Bucur (40) who were working at the Algerian oil facility were transported to the Ploiesti Coroner’s Office for necropsy. Mediafax quotes sources close to the investigation as saying that the first available information following the necropsy indicates the two victims sustained multiple traumas that might have been caused by an explosion blast. Tiberiu Costache was the father of a six year old boy and his wife was seven months pregnant. Mihail Bucur had two children, a 14 year old boy and a three year old girl. The Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) yesterday announced it had opened criminal investigations into the incidents in Algeria where two Romanian nationals were killed. DIICOT’s argument for its action is the information released by the Foreign Ministry and the mass-media relative to the case and makes reference to article 5 in the Criminal Code, on the reality of the criminal law and stating that ‘the criminal law shall apply to criminal offences committed abroad against the security of the Romanian state or against the life of a Romanian citizen, or through which the corporal integrity or health of a Romanian citizen have been harmed, when that are committed by a foreign citizen or by a person without citizenship whose domicile is not in Romania’. According to the press release from the Prosecution, the criminal case has been drawn up ‘for the commission for criminal offences stipulated by law 535/2004 on the prevention and combating of terrorism’. The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Senate, Petru Filip, said yesterday that, following the presentation done by FM Titus Corlatean, the Foreign Affairs Parliament Committees had come to the conclusion that the crisis units set up at MAE to handle the situation in Algeria worked ‘well and correctly’. The chairman of the counterpart committee in the lower chamber, Laszlo Borbely, pointed out that all the factors involved in the crisis unit ‘had done their duty’. According to Mediafax, the meeting lasted approximately one and a half hours, was organised upon Titus Corlatean’s request, and the press was not granted access during the debates. FM Corlatean said that was the regular practice in all Western countries when it comes to the operation of institutions engaged in anti-terrorist fight. After the meeting, the foreign minister said that MAE needed a consolidated representation at the embassies and consular offices situated in regions posing special security risks, in which cases exceptions could be made to the general rule of budget austerity ‘because, God forbid, if there are new crisis situations we don’t want, we need to be properly equipped with the necessary resources to be able to fully cope’. Corlatean also confirmed yesterday morning that the third Romanian national who had been taken hostage in Algeria was already in Romania and that he was the first of the three Romanians who were successfully rescued.
Romania asks Algerian authorities to provide complete evaluation of terrorist attack
The Romanian foreign minister noted on the public television Monday night that he had instructed the Romanian Embassy in Alger to ask Algerian authorities to provide a clear and complete evaluation of the terrorist attack at In Amenas.
He stressed the operation of annihilating the terrorists and attempted release of hostages had been fully conducted by the Algerian authorities, who have the due responsibility, ‘unfortunately without too much openness to suggestions made by states that had hostages there, including Romania’. Corlatean said that, apart from ‘suggestions’, Romania, as well as the other Western states, after the beginning of the crisis, sent Algerian authorities instructions stressing that privilege must be given to saving hostages over other considerations. The minister noted that, whilst other Western countries asked for clearance to go there with aircraft and other means, Bucharest had asked to be given consular access to the area. ‘We wanted to be present there, and establish quick contact with Romanian citizens, but we did not receive the authorisation’, said Corlatean. According to him, the refusal of access happened in the context where ‘Algeria has a very tough policy on terrorism – justified by previous developments in that country and by the many terrorist attacks – which rules out any negotiation and presupposes direct armed intervention.’ Corlatean also said Monday night that the information that a Romanian had been admitted into an Algerian hospital following the terrorist attack had come via four different channels, all of which were outside the control of the Algerian ambassador in Bucharest. PM Victor Ponta also stressed in his intervention on Antena 3, Monday night, that the area where the Romanian citizens had been held hostage was only accessible to Algerian authorities and that Romania had only received information on the death of the second national Monday morning, having been previously let know he had been released and in hospital.