25 years since June 1990 miners’ riots in Bucharest

The 21 December, 1989 Association on Saturday marked 25 years since the June 1990 miners’ riots with a public debate in Bucharest.

Before the debate, the association laid a wreath at ground zero in University Square, to the memory of the heroes killed in June 1990.

Attending the event hosted by the main offices of the December 21, 1989 Association were Senator Radu F. Alexandru, political scientist Alexandru Gussi, Andrei Oisteanu of the Group for Social Dialogue, Chairman of the Scientific Board of the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile (IICCMER), Ph.D Nicolae Constantinescu, lawyers Antonie Popescu and Ionut Matei, as well as victims of the miners’ riots.

They talked about the violent actions of June 13-15, 1990 and the reopening a criminal investigation of the event at the suggestion of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Ph. D Constantinescu told the debate moderated by Chairman of the December 21, 1989 Association Teodor Maries about the events of the days of the miners’ riots. He said that on the night of June 13, 1990 he was an on duty doctor at the Coltea Hospital of Bucharest. ‘I saw all this with my own eyes,’ he said, adding that as far as the history of the miners’ riots is concerned, there has been a sum of lies and misinformation.

“This is not about politics, but about history,’ Zamfirescu said in his turn. He added that during the miners’ riots he was attending a congress meeting in Copenhagen, where he saw first-page pictures from the events in Romania. In his opinion, what should be asked now is what happened afterwards, as justice proved passive on the matter.

“Light has to be cast, because human rights wee flagrantly violated,’ said Zamfirescu.

“We have no right to forget. Let us follow what is happening today because we are in the same danger zone as in the early 1990s,’ said Radu F. Alexandru.

Antonie Popescu and Ionut Matei talked about the reopening of a criminal case involving the miners’ riots, at the suggestion of the ECHR. “The decision of the ECHR Grand Chamber came after an appeal, and the analysis of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights comes down to something like the passage of time, that is prescription in the juridical term of the word, does not exonerate the Romanian state of meeting its international obligations, and neither does it absolve the violators of their individual criminal liability. The procedural obligations arising from Articles 2 and 3 – the right to life and the right to freedom in the ECHR Convention – require a fair trial to judge the ones responsible for the crimes against humanity committed against Romanian civilians at a troubled time of a transition toward a democracy,’ said Popescu.

In his turn, Matei talked about the latest developments in the inquiry into the miner’ riots. He mentioned that the case was closed in 2009, but the decision was challenged by the December 21, 1989 Association.

“One week ago, I met the Military Prosecution Section that has taken over the case. Unfortunately, the file for the criminal investigation is not yet with the Military Prosecution; nonetheless the head of the Military Prosecution Section and the subordinated prosecutors drew up a report suggesting the reopening of the miners’ riots case, which was confirmed by the Supreme Court,’ said Matei. He added that the investigation in this case is expected to start soon and some of the parties will most likely be reheard.

The series of events commemorating the June 1990 miners’ riots was expected to continue with a show meeting in the evening at the Fountain of the University Square. According to organisers, invited to attend were friends and band mates of late folk singers Vali Sterian and Cristian Paturca, both known for their activism against the use of public force against civilians back in 1990s, Agerpres informs.


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