European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights

Romania: Court’s Grand Chamber to reveal judgement on demo crackdown violence

Next week, judges will deliver a Grand Chamber judgment on the investigation into a crackdown on demonstrations in Bucharest.

The European Court of Human Rights decision in the case of Mocanu and Others v. Romania (applications nos. 10865/09, 45886/07 and 32431/08) will be announced at a public hearing on 17 September, at 10h (CET).

The case concerns the investigation and the length of the proceedings brought following the violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrations in Bucharest in June 1990.

The applicants are Anca Mocanu and Marin Stoica, two Romanian nationals who live in Bucharest, and the Association ’21 December 1989,’ a legal entity registered under Romanian law and based in Bucharest.

The association brings together individuals who were injured during the violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrations which took place in December 1989 and the relatives of persons who died during those events.

On 13 June 1990, the security forces intervened against demonstrators who were occupying University Square in Bucharest and other areas of the capital. This resulted in several civilian casualties, including Mocanu’s husband, who was killed by a shot fired from the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior.

During the evening, Stoica and some other people were arrested and ill-treated by uniformed police officers and men in civilian clothing in the area around the headquarters of the state television service and in the basement of that building.

On 14 June 1990, thousands of workers, particularly miners from several industrial regions around the country, were transported by train to Bucharest to take part in the crackdown on the demonstrators. Eleven trains to Bucharest were laid on. The miners had been informed that they were to assist the police in restoring law and order in Bucharest. They were armed with axes, chains,
cudgels and metal cables.

The violent events of 13 and 14 June 1990 resulted in more than a thousand victims and the headquarters of several political parties and associations, including those of the Association ’21 December 1989,’ were ransacked.

The criminal proceedings into the unlawful killing of Mocanu are still pending. The investigation opened into the ill-treatment inflicted on Mr Stoica on 13 June 1990 was closed by a decision not to bring a prosecution, dated 17 June 2009, subsequently upheld by a judgment of the High Court of Cassation and Justice of 9 March 2011.

In its Chamber judgment of 13 November 2012, the Court found that the duration of the investigative procedures into the death of Ms Mocanu’s husband and the ransacking of the association’s headquarters had been excessive, in violation of Article 2 and Article 6 § 1 of the convention.

In contrast, it found that Stoica had only taken the first steps to be recognised as a victim in 2001 (11 years after the crackdown) and that such passivity did not justify the finding of a violation of Article 3.

Comments are closed.