On Tuesday, Romania was condemned again by the European Court of Human Rights for lack of effective investigation in the Revolution case and was ordered to pay EUR 15,000 to the widow of a man killed in his home by a stray bullet coming through the window.
The investigation was opened in 1990 by the Bucharest Military prosecutor’s Office. The case was combined, in 2007, with another case regarding acts of violence committed in Bucharest in December 1989. As the investigation was not finalised, in 2009 the woman went to ECHR. Catalina Filip complained to the European Court about the manner in which the death of her husband had been investigated. The man died on 25 December 1989, in Bucharest.
The Court of Strasbourg ruled that the Romanian State should pay the plaintiff EUR 15,000 for lack of effective investigation into the death of her husband, Section 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on the Defence of Human Rights being broken.
The decision handed down by ECHR on Tuesday adds to previous ones where former revolutionaries or relatives received compensations for the conduct of investigations into the case known by the name of the ‘Revolution case’. Eight other people, all victims of the Revolution or persons whose relatives perished in December 1989, each received a compensation of EUR 8,000, under an ECHR decision of March.
Thousands of complaints regarding the armed reprisals of the protests in Bucharest, Oradea, Constanta, Craiova, Bacau, Targu Mures and Cluj-Napoca are still not solved 25 years after the Revolution. Investigations have been finalised with a trial and convictions only for the armed reprisals in Timisoara.
According to official statistics, 1,142 persons were killed, 3,138 were wounded and 760 were arrested in the Revolution of December 1989.
Another condemnation for Romania, for discrimination
Also on Tuesday, ECHR condemned Romania for violating the rights of the Turkish community who was unable to participate in the general election of 2008. The Association of Turk Ethnics was unable to participate in the election because of a law introduced seven months before the parliamentary election of November 2008.
The law requires political groups in Parliament to be foundations in order to be able to run in election. ECHR shows that such provision led to ‘the automatic disqualification of opposition parties and coalitions with enough popular support and favours ruling political entities’.
The unanimous verdict of the ECHR judges was that the law was ‘incompatible with the democratic order and undermines the citizens’ trust in public authorities in their countries’.
Romania therefore broke those sections of the European Convention on Human Rights that ban discrimination and guarantee free elections.