On Tuesday, the magistrates of the Supreme Court started to judge the case of the Miners’ Riot (Mineriada – e.n.) since June 13-15, 1990, in which 14 people, including former President Ion Iliescu, former PM Petre Roman, former Vice PM Gelu Voican Voiculescu, former head of SRI Virgil Magureanu and former union leader Miron Cozma were sent to judgement for crimes against humanity.
The Tuesday hearing, which involved debates in the preliminary camber, was held at the Bucharest Military Court of Appeal.
The debates are not public.
Dozens of people, most of them civilians who were injured or participating in the events, came in the institution’s courtyard. When Virgil Magureanu came to the court, he was booed by those who were in the institution’s courtyard.
Dozens of people tried to get into the courtroom together, but they weren’t allowed; it was decided that they can get in one by one, based on a list previously prepared, because of the small space in the courtroom. At one point, a man who was waiting in the institution’s courtyard felt sick, being helped by the gendarmes and receiving medical care from a crew of an ambulance that arrived on the scene.
The President of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) Cristina Tarcea stated in June 2017 that the “Miners’ Riot” case, which was sent to ICCJ in order to be judged, could last at least one year and a half without the preliminary chamber procedure, given that 1,500 victims and 600 witnesses have to be heard.
On June 13, 2017, the Prosecution Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice announced that the military prosecutors have completed the investigation in the case of the Miners’ Riot since June 13-15, 1990, sending to judgement 14 people for crimes against humanity, including former President Ion Iliescu, former PM Petre Roman, former Vice PM Gelu Voican Voiculescu, former head of SRI Virgil Magureanu and Miron Cozma. According to prosecutors, on June 11 and 12, 1990, the state authorities decided to start a violent attack against the demonstrators in the University Square from Bucharest, and forces of the Interior Ministry, National Defense Ministry, Romanian Intelligence Services and over ten thousands miners and other workers from several regions of the country were unlawfully involved in this attack.
Thus, the following persons were sent to judgement: Ion Iliescu, who was at that time the President of Romania and the President of the Provisional Council of National Union and elected president of Romania, the PM of the Interim Government Petre Roman, the Vice PM Gelu Voican Voiculescu, the head of the Romanian Intelligence Service Virgil Magureanu and retired General Mugurel Cristian Florescu, the Deputy Prosecutor General of Romania and the head of the Military Prosecution Department, for crimes against humanity, provided by art.439 para.1, lett.a of the Criminal Code (homicide) – 4 material deeds, art.439 para.1 lett.g (injury to physical or mental integrity of people) – 1,388 material deeds, and art.439 para.1 lett.j (injury to physical or mental integrity of people ) – 1,250 material deeds.
According to the prosecutors, on June 11 and 12, 1990, the state authorities decided to start a violent attack against the demonstrators in the University Square from Bucharest, who were mainly militating for the adoption of point 8 of the Timisoara Proclamation and who were peacefully expressing their political opinions in contradiction with the ones of the majority forming the political power at that time. According to prosecutors, forces of the Interior Ministry, National Defense Ministry, Romanian Intelligence Services and over ten thousands miners and other workers from several regions of the country were unlawfully involved in this attack.
Prosecutors mention that the attack was started in the morning of June 13, 1990, with the following consequences: the death by shooting of four people (which means the same number of material deeds of the crime), the injury of the physical or mental integrity of a total number of 1,388 people (which means the same number of material deeds of the crime) and the deprivation of the fundamental right to freedom for political reasons, of a total number of 1,250 people.
In this action, more than two hundred people were picked up and transported to a military unit of the Interior Ministry located in Magurele, where they were kept until the afternoon of the same day, when they were allowed to leave, after they were superficially investigated, while at the same time, people entered by force, without any right, into the headquarters of the Institute of Architecture and of Bucharest University, several offices being searched and people from inside being evicted by acts of violence.
“According to the decision taken by the Provisional Council of National Union, the Prime Minister of the Romanian Government, the Vice PM, the leaders of the force institutions, and by people in the leadership of the National Salvation Front, workers from the Bucharest Heavy Machines Enterprise coordinated b their manager were brought in the University Square. The workers acted violently, physically assaulting people they met in the area of the Institute of Architecture, and then they occupied the University Square together with the police forces, in order to prevent the return of the demonstrators. The actions taken by the state authorities caused a violent reply of their opponents, so the headquarters of the Bucharest Police, Interior Ministry, Romanian Television and Romanian Intelligence Service were burned down”, prosecutors say.
Investigators also say that weapons with war ammunition were used by the police forces, four people being killed and other three people being wounded also by shooting in these circumstances.
The repression of the authorities continued on June 14 and 15, 1990, by a systematic attack conducted together with the miners and workers from several counties of the country, who became a real police force, parallel with the ones recognized and organized according to the law. In this context, the miners brought in Bucharest devastated the headquarters of the new established or re-established political parties after the Revolution of December 1989, which were in the opposition. They also assaulted the inhabitants of Bucharest and other people in connection with the demonstrations in the University Square. The images with the acts of violence committed by miners on the streets of the city were circulated worldwide.
46 people who are defendants or suspects, 1,388 injured persons, 146 successors of the victims and 589 witnesses were heard in this case, and around 2,300 summons were issued.
The Miners’ Riot case has 413 volumes, and the indictment in this case has 2,000 pages.