Romania’s former President Ion Iliescu sent to court for crimes against humanity

Former Romanian President Ion Iliescu was sent to court yesterday in a case related to the violent crackdown of the antigovernment protests in Bucharest in June 1990, also known as the “miners’ riot.”

The prosecutors investigating the case officially indicted him for crimes against humanity. The announcement was made symbolically on the day that marked 27 years since the violent events on June 13-15, 1990.

Ion Iliescu is believed to have called the miners in Valea Jiului, the country’s main coal basin, to Bucharest to violently attack the peaceful protesters in Bucharest’s University Square, who were against his new political regime.

“This attack illegally involved forces of the Interior Ministry, Defense Ministry, Romanian Intelligence Service, as well as over 10,000 miners and workers from various areas of the country,” reads a statement of the General Prosecutor’s Office.

Four people were killed and 1,388 were injured during the violent events while 1,250 were illegally held.

Former Prime Minister Petre Roman, deputy prime minister Gelu Voican Voiculescu, and former SRI director Virgil Magureanu were also sent to court on the same charge of crimes against humanity. Other former officials involved in the crackdown were sent to court, including local media mogul Adrian Sarbu, PM Petre Roman’s chief of staff, and Miron Cozma, the leader of the miners’ union.

The case will be tried by the High Court of Cassation and Justice.

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