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Former Romanian leaders are investigated for crimes against humanity in December 1989


President Klaus Iohannis forwarded to the Justice Minister the request for prosecution in the case of the former head of state Ion Iliescu, former premier Petre Roman and in Gelu Voican Voiculescu's case, the Presidential Administration announced.

At the same time, the Prosecutor's Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice was also notified with regard to this request having been made.

"Romania's President, Mr. Klaus Iohannis forwarded on Friday, 13 April, to the Justice Minister, the request for the prosecution of Mr. Ion Iliescu, Mr. Petre Roman and Mr. Gelu Voican Voiculescu, for deeds under criminal case no.11 11/P/2014 of the Prosecutor's Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice - the Military Prosecutor's Office Section, for having committed crimes against humanity (...), and proceeding will follow in compliance with the law, taking into consideration the request of the Prosecutor General of the Prosecutor's Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice (...), as well as of those noted through the Constitutional court's decisions," the quoted source specifies.

On 2 April, Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar conveyed to President Klaus Iohannis the request to start the criminal prosecution in the Revolution case against Ion Iliescu, Peter Roman and Gelu Voican Voiculescu, in respect to committing crimes against humanity, the Prosecutor's Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice (PICCJ) informs.

"The Prosecutor General of the Prosecutor's Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice has addressed to the President of Romania a request to exercise the constitutional and legal prerogatives regarding the criminal prosecution request in respect to committing crimes against humanity, according to the Criminal Code's article 439 paragraph (1) letter a, g, i and k, with the application of Article 5 of the Criminal Code, against: Iliescu Ion, member and president of the Council of the National Salvation Front (since December 22, 1989), a body which de facto exercised the central executive and legislative power, acting as a Government until the Decree-Law No. 2 of December 27, 1989, when the president of the council was given the role of a head of state, and the legislative powers of the council were separated from those of the executive ones, requiring authorization for December 22-27, 1989; Roman Petre, member of the Council of the National Salvation Front, since December 22, 1989, officially named Prime Minister of the Government of Romania by Decree No.1 of December 26, 1989, requiring authorization for the period December 22-31, 1989; Gelu Voican Voiculescu, member of the National Salvation Front's Council since December 22, 1989, officially appointed Deputy Prime Minister of the Romanian Government by Decree no. 5 of December 28, 1989, requiring authorization for the period from December 22 to 31, 1989," the Prosecutor General 's Office was arguing at the time.

On 18 December 2017, the Military Prosecutors' Office was announcing that following the administration of evidence in the Revolution case, the conclusion of the investigators was that there was no void of power in December 1989.

Military prosecutor Marian Lazar was stating then that there had been a military diversion starting with the evening of 22 December 1989 and the main cause of numerous deaths, personal injuries and damages. Moreover, prosecutors identified, including through testimonies, the source of the panic-inducing sound (emitted on 21 December 1989, during Nicolae Ceausescu's speech) which contributed, alongside other elements, to the disruption of the protest in the Palace Place and the onset of protests in Bucharest.

At the same time, prosecutors maintained there had been diversions exercised on the command structures of UM 01417 Targoviste, the location where the Ceausescu couple was, but also orders received from the top of the military hierarchy regarding the physical elimination of the presidential couple.

"It is certain that a diversion existed, that it manifested itself in a complex way and on multiple levels, being the main cause for numerous deaths, injuries and damages.The evidence administered pointed out the mechanisms of constant misinformation, with extremely serious consequences, launched through the Romanian Television, the radio and the military communication means, thus instituting the well known terrorist psychosis.


The three founded the National Salvation Front as Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown on Dec. 22, 1989, and executed three days later together with his wife Elena. Some 1,104 people died in Romania’s revolt, the vast majority after Ceausescu’s ouster.

Iohannis was responding to an April 2 request from Romania’s general prosecutor. His authorization was needed because the events occurred when the three were government officials.

Almost three decades after communism ended, only two generals have been convicted for the revolution deaths, and doubts remain whether the uprising was a true revolution or a military coup.

Military investigators who reopened the file in 2016 said the “new political and military leadership” which took control after Ceausescu’s ouster caused the deaths of many people in their bid to maintain power. Prosecutors say that state media broadcast fake news creating a state of panic and some of the evidence relating to the uprising has been destroyed.

Roman, who became Romania’s premier during the uprising, called Iohannis’ decision “completely unfounded and illogical.”