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AI Index: EUR 39/01/95
1 Easton Street
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Fax: (44) (71) 956 1157
Broken commitments to human rights
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Background. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
Summary of Amnesty International's concerns . . . . . . . . . . . .2
Restrictions on the right to freedom of expression. . . . . . . . .6
The case of Ionel Buzoianu. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
The case of Nicolae Andrei. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
Imprisonment solely for homosexuality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
The case of Marius Aitai, Cosmin Hutanu and Ovidiu
Chetea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
The case of Florian MuCat, Dorin-Alexandru Foia and
Traian Pasca. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
The case of Valentin-Walter Stoica. . . . . . . . . . 12
Ill-treatment of Article 200 prisoners. . . . . . . . 13
Torture, ill-treatment and deaths in custody. . . . . . . . . . . 14
The case of Gabriela-Ioana GavrilA["] . . . . . . . . 18
The case of Gheorghe and Dorin Anghel . . . . . . . . 19
The Case of Ioan Rusu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
The case of Jo[']zsef Ne[']meth . . . . . . . . . . . 20
The case of Ioan Neagu. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
The case of Nicolae Miroiu. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
The case of Stan Oncel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
The case of Viorica CA["]prişa, Andrei Zanopol and Sorin
şişei . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
The case of Rober Radu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
The Roma - a catalogue of injustice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
The HA["]dA["]reni case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Ill-treatment of Costel Moldovan and arbitrary detention
of Moldovan Maria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Harassment of LacA["] family. . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Racist violence in Ba[^]cu. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
The case of Emil and Virgil Macau . . . . . . . . . . 36
Amnesty International's recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39Background
Fundamental rights and freedoms in Romania are safeguarded by the
Constitution of Romania, international treaties and domestic law.
The Constitution, adopted in November 1991, contains provisions on
most rights and freedoms recognized by the Universal Declaration on
Human Rights and the main international treaties. International
treaties ratified by Parliament become part of domestic law.
Furthermore, international provisions take precedence "if there is
[disagreement] between the pacts and treaties on fundamental human
rights to which Romania is a party and domestic laws".*1
As a result, key international human rights treaties have been
incorporated into domestic law. Romania is legally bound to honour
many international treaties. These include the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)*2, the United Nations
(UN) Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention against Torture) and
the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Romania made a further commitment to protect human rights in
October 1993 when it became the 32nd member of the Council of
Europe. Romania was accepted as a member of the Council on
condition that it brought several aspects of domestic law and
practice into line with the European Convention for the Protection
of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). The Council's
Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution*3 listing areas for
improvement, of which the following were the most significant:
- Romania's policies on the protection of minorities should be based
on the principles laid down in the Parliamentary Assembly
Recommendation 1201 (1993);
- conditions of detention should be improved;
- freedom of expression and press freedom should be guaranteed;
- domestic legislation should be amended to ensure that government
ministers could no longer instruct judges;
- the Penal Code should be amended so that homosexual acts in
private between consenting adults were no longer penalized;
- the government should use all constitutional means to combat
racism and anti-Semitism, as well as all forms of national and
religious discrimination and incitement to such discrimination.
The Parliamentary Assembly's Political Affairs Committee and
the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights were to monitor
progress towards meeting these conditions. The committees were to
report at six-monthly intervals until all the conditions had been
However, the rapporteurs of the two committees visited Romania
only once, in March 1994. They concluded that although the highest
authorities were ready to honour the obligations "the list of
questions remaining open is long and the majority in Parliament
slows down the implementation of reforms". The committees continue
to monitor the situation in Romania.
In June 1994 Romania ratified the ECHR and declared that it
recognized both the right of individual petition to the European
Commission of Human Rights*5 and the compulsory jurisdiction of the
European Court of Human Rights*6. In October 1994 Romania ratified
the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its two additional
protocols.*7 This opened the way for the European Committee for the
Prevention of Torture to visit and monitor conditions in all places
Summary of Amnesty International's concerns
Grave human rights violations persist in Romania despite the
undertakings that the Romanian Government gave the Council of
Europe. There have been improvements in respect for human rights
since the overthrow of President CeauCescu in December 1989, but
Amnesty International continues to receive reports of violations,
including the imprisonment of prisoners of conscience, the
complicity of local officials and police in violence against the
Roma and failure to protect the Roma minority from racist violence,
the torture and ill-treatment of detainees and deaths in detention
in suspicious circumstances.
The Romanian Government has assured the international
community that it is committed to upholding its international human
rights obligations. However, it has failed to reflect this
commitment in its national political institutions. This is an
essential step towards legislative reform and towards ensuring that
public and law enforcement officials respect human rights.
It is in the area of legislative reform that the gap between
the government's public commitment to upholding human rights and
progress towards that goal is most apparent. Parliament has not
amended Article 19 of the Law on the Organization of the Judiciary.
This establishes control over judges by the Minister of Justice
through an inspectorate which can examine any aspect of a judge's
work. Another shortcoming of the law allows the Ministry to
influence court decisions. The president of the court, responsible
for assigning cases to judges, is under the control of the Minister
of Justice*8. Such control is inconsistent with Romania's obligation
under Article 14 (1) of the ICCPR, guaranteeing everyone charged
with a criminal offence "a fair and public hearing by a competent,
independent and impartial tribunal established by law" and under
Article 6 (1) of the ECHR, which contains a similar guarantee, as
well as the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the
The parliamentary debates on the reform of the Penal Code and
Penal Procedure Code began in the autumn of 1993 and continued
throughout 1994. In December, having voted on all the individual
amendments, the Chamber of Deputies rejected the draft law as a
whole. It was then returned to the Senate for a second debate.
Instead of guaranteeing freedom of expression, the proposed
amendments to Article 168 (dissemination of false news), Article 236
(offences against insignia), Article 236*1 (defamation of the state
or nation), Article 238 (offences against the authorities) and
Article 239 ("outrage") would impose even greater restrictions on
the right to freedom of expression.*9 In a further debate on these
amendments in March 1995, the Romanian Senate again adopted
similarly restrictive provisions.
The proposed revision to Article 200, paragraph 1, which
criminalizes homosexual acts, is vaguely worded and could lead to
the prosecution and imprisonment of adults engaging in consensual
homosexual acts in private.*10
Since 1993 a number of people have been adopted as prisoners
of conscience by Amnesty International. Two people were charged with
and held in pretrial detention as a result of the peaceful exercise
of their right to freedom of expression.*11 In the same period at
least 11 people have been imprisoned under Article 200, paragraph 1.
Three prisoners of conscience have been convicted for disturbing
public peace, apparently because of their ethnic origin.*12 The
cases of some of these prisoners of conscience show that the police
force and the judicial system have little regard for the
constitutional rights of the defendants. They also highlight
unacceptably poor administration in courts and places of detention,
locally and nationally.
While the number of prisoners of conscience is lower than in
the years prior to the overthrow of President CeauCescu in December
1989, reports indicate that torture, beating and other forms of ill-
treatment of detainees continue to be widespread. These human rights
violations occur in the context of serious economic and social
difficulties which affect most of the population, and a chronic
lack of funds to maintain state and other public services. This is
often used by the Romanian authorities to excuse human rights abuses
by police officers. In addition, police officers have traditionally
placed the protection of state interests above the universally
recognized rights of individuals. Education and training designed
to promote a human rights culture among public officials and law
enforcement officers are therefore imperative.
The problem is further compounded by a pattern of impunity of
law enforcement officers responsible for human rights violations.
International standards require prompt, thorough and impartial
investigations into reports of human rights violations by law
enforcement officials. These standards are seldom fulfilled.
Investigations are often unnecessarily obstructed and prolonged by
inadequate methods of gathering evidence. Prosecutors do not
exercise sufficient control over police officials who participate in
investigations into alleged abuses committed by their colleagues*13.
The prosecuting authorities also invariably give more weight to
evidence in favour of a suspected police officer than evidence that
supports the complainant's allegations. Finally, there is no
judicial review of prosecutors' decisions not to charge police
officers alleged to have committed human rights violations.
One of the major human rights issues in Romania today concerns
violations against the Roma. The impunity of police officers and a
pattern of inadequate police protection of Roma lives and property
has encouraged further acts of racist violence. The Romanian
authorities have failed to take all measures to ensure the rights
and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and international
treaties that apply to everyone without distinction of any kind
"such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other
opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other
status".*14 As a State Party to the International Convention on the
Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination Romania is obliged
to ensure "the right to security of person and protection by the
State against violence or bodily harm, whether inflicted by
government officials or by any individual group or institution".*15
Amnesty International welcomes the cooperation and information
it has received from the Romanian authorities, particularly from the
office of the General Prosecutor. National and local authorities
have engaged voluntarily in an open dialogue with the organization.
However, the Romanian Intelligence Service*16 (RIS) considers
monitoring of human rights as a threat to national security in some
instances. In its annual report to the Romanian Parliament in
November 1994 the RIS referred to activities of certain independent
Roma non-governmental organizations "which, by falsification and
denigration of the situation in our country, incited actions
affecting the image of Romania abroad, and have at the same time
instigated destabilizing and unconstitutional acts" [emphasis in
Several people who contacted Amnesty International about human
rights violations were subsequently harassed and intimidated by
officials of the RIS, although they were not charged with any
offence. Amnesty International recalls the commitment of states of
the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to:
"respect the right of everyone, individually or in association
with others, to seek, receive and impart freely views and
information on human rights and fundamental freedoms,
including the rights to disseminate and publish such views and
"allow members of such groups and organizations to have
unhindered access to and communication with similar bodies
within and outside their countries and with international
organizations, to engage in exchanges, contacts and co-
operation with such groups and organizations and to solicit,
receive and utilize for the purpose of promoting and
protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms voluntary
financial contributions from national and international
sources as provided for by law."*18
Restrictions on the right to freedom of expression
Provisions of the Romanian Penal Code that impose arbitrary and
excessive restrictions on the peaceful exercise of rights to freedom
of expression, assembly and association with others violate
international treaties ratified by Romania.
Certain provisions of Articles 238 and 239 criminalize
defamation of "a person engaged in an important state or public
activity".*19 Article 238, paragraph 1, punishes with six months'
to three years' imprisonment anyone who "casts slurs upon the honour
or publicly threatens" a person in such a position. Article 239,
paragraph 1, states:
"Insult, libel, slander or threats made directly or by
direct means of communication against a functionary
whose duties involve the exercise of state authority,
and who is performing his duties, or such insults made
with regard to acts accomplished during the performance
of his duties are punishable by three months' to two
These articles violate the right to freedom of expression
recognized in Article 19 of the ICCPR. The reputations of public
officials, including the President of the Republic, are adequately
protected by other provisions of the Penal Code guaranteeing the
honour and personal integrity of individuals, as well as by civil
actions which are available to anyone, regardless of status or
The case of Ionel Buzoianu
Ionel Buzoianu, a chauffeur working in Bucharest, lost his
livelihood after being arrested in March 1993 and charged under
Article 238 for offending public authority.
On 27 February 1993, at around 3pm, Ionel Buzoianu parked his
car on the Piaşa Presei Libere (Free Press Square) in Bucharest. On
the side of the car were painted the words: "The commander of the
traffic police encourages his officers to take bribes so that he can
buy a villa on Bulevardul Primaverii." In explaining why Ionel
Buzoianu had been charged with offending public authority, the
Bucharest-Sector I Prosecutor cited the testimony of two witnesses
who stated that "small groups of citizens had gathered around the
abandoned car and engaged in discussions leaving the site in
The indictment also states that on 24 March 1993 Ionel
Buzoianu confessed to painting the offending words on the car. He
apparently told the prosecutor that in February he had been stopped
by a traffic police officer who allegedly demanded a bribe to return
his driving licence. When Ionel Buzoianu told him that he would
complain to the police commander the officer reportedly replied,
"The commander wants to buy a villa on Bulevardul Primaverii."
Ionel Buzoianu was detained pending trial for 18 months. He
was released on 1 September 1994 after being held for more than half
of the maximum penalty for the offence with which he was charged.
His trial is under way. The police commander is not known to have
instituted an ordinary libel action against Ionel Buzoianu.
In October 1994, Amnesty International called on President Ion
Iliescu to suspend the prosecution of Ionel Buzoianu. No reply has
been received to date.
The case of Nicolae Andrei
Nicolae Andrei, a journalist from Craiova, was arrested on 14
February 1994 and charged with "casting slurs upon the honour"*20 of
President Ion Iliescu. The charge was based on satirical articles
written by Nicolae Andrei which were published in a special
supplement of the magazine Conflict in late December 1993.
Nicolae Andrei was detained for four days and then released
on bail pending trial. The file was then referred to the General
Prosecutor. In April the investigation department proposed to
suspend the case. However, on 10 May the Deputy General Prosecutor
decided to re-examine the file. It was eventually returned to the
Dolj prosecutor in December. He found that "the articles written by
the defendant, regardless of their literary form ... contain
expressions which defame, insult and libel the constitutional
institution of the Presidency of Romania". The prosecutor also
assessed "the personality traits of the defendant" and found him to
be "a confirmed oaf" who lacked journalistic training and experience
and was therefore not familiar with "the types of expressions that
can be used in criticising certain aspects of the life and
activities of state leaders".*21 In view of this the prosecutor
decided to impose on Nicolae Andrei an administrative fine of 25,000
lei, the maximum amount provided by law. The President is not known
to have instituted an ordinary civil action for libel against
Imprisonment solely for homosexuality
Article 200 of the Penal Code also contravenes international
treaties ratified by Romania. This article allows for the arrest,
prosecution and imprisonment of consenting adults engaging in
homosexual acts in private. Paragraph 1 of Article 200 states that
"sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex is punishable by
one to five years' imprisonment". Paragraph 4 states that
"propositioning or enticing an individual to an act provided for in
Paragraph 1 is punishable by one to five years' imprisonment".
Article 204 criminalizes all attempts to commit acts penalized by
Amnesty International has repeatedly urged the Romanian
authorities to repeal these articles and called for the release of
prisoners convicted under them. Amnesty International considers
individuals imprisoned solely because of their practice of
consensual homosexual acts between adults in private to be prisoners
On 4 October 1994 President Iliescu addressed the Council of
Europe's Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg. In response to a
question from a Danish member of the Parliamentary Assembly about
the persecution and harassment of homosexuals in Romania, the
president said that the law was being reviewed by parliament. "He
said that there was not widespread support for homosexuals and that
the position of the church was well received by the people of
Romania.*22 He referred to educational and medical measures as a
means of dealing with these problems."*23
In October 1994 the Chamber of Deputies voted not to amend
Article 200, Paragraph 1, and to retain a prescription of all
homosexual acts. This decision flouted Romania's commitment to the
Council of Europe, whose Secretary General was then visiting
Subsequently, however, the Romanian Government demonstrated
that it can influence parliamentary decisions when it considers it
politically opportune. The following week the rejected revision was
returned for a second vote and on 1 November 1994 the Chamber of
Deputies decided to penalize sexual relations between persons of the
same sex only if such acts were committed in public or "in
conditions which disturbed public order".
In December 1994, having voted on all the individual
amendments, the Chamber of Deputies rejected the draft law amending
the Penal Code as a whole. It was then returned to the Senate for a
In February 1994 Amnesty International submitted its position
on Article 200, paragraph 1, to the Romanian Constitutional Court
which was reviewing a case of six men charged under this law. In May
1994 an Amnesty International delegate observed a public hearing in
the Constitutional Court. Two months later the court decided that
the provisions of Article 200, paragraph 1, were unconstitutional
"to the extent to which they apply to sexual relations between
freely consenting adults, which were not committed in public or did
not produce a public scandal".*24 This decision was upheld on appeal
and came into force in January 1995.*25 Although the decision
modifies the enforcement of the law, it could still allow for the
prosecution of freely consenting adults who engaged in homosexual
acts in private if such acts "caused public scandal". This is such a
broad term that it could lead to varying and contradictory judicial
The case of Marius Aitai, Cosmin Hutanu and Ovidiu Chetea
In November 1993, according to official sources, 57 people were in
prison on charges under Article 200 of the Penal Code.*27 Three were
men imprisoned under the provisions of paragraph 1, which prohibits
all sexual relations between persons of the same sex.
Marius Aitai, a 22-year-old prisoner in Gherla penitentiary,
was sentenced in 1992 by the Dej court to 30 months' imprisonment
for having sexual relations with another prisoner. Cosmin Hutanu,
aged 21, was sentenced in 1993 by the FocCani court to 14 months'
imprisonment and was imprisoned in FocCani penitentiary. Ovidiu
Chetea, aged 20, was sentenced in 1992 by the TimiCoara court to 18
months' imprisonment. He had been serving his sentence in Oradea
It later emerged that Marius Aitai had been convicted under
Article 200, paragraph 1, for an act he committed in prison while
serving a six-year sentence for theft. In combining the two
penalties, the Dej court had added six months to his original prison
sentence. Amnesty International has urged the authorities to reduce
Marius Aitai's sentence by six months.
Cosmin Hutanu and four other men were investigated under
Article 200, paragraph 1, in July 1992. While he was abroad Cosmin
Hutanu was tried and sentenced in absentia in February 1993 to 14
months' imprisonment for violating this article. His co-defendants
were sentenced to corrective labour at their workplaces. Cosmin
Hutanu was arrested and imprisoned in July 1993. He was
conditionally released in March 1994.
In May 1994 the Romanian authorities responded to Amnesty
International's concerns over the case of Ovidiu Chetea by denying
that he was in prison. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated,
"According to information received from the Ministry of Justice,
there is no evidence of an inmate of that name in the penitentiary
system." Furthermore, according to the same statement, the TimiCoara
Court could not identify any person of that name to have been
indicted or convicted by that instance.
However, the Ministry of Justice had reported, in November
1993, that Ovidiu Chetea had been sentenced by the TimiCoara Court
under Article 200, paragraph 1, for "engaging in sexual relations
with different persons of the same sex in the period 1987 - 1992".
Independent reports subsequently confirmed that Ovidiu Chetea had
been conditionally released from Oradea Penitentiary on 21 December
1993. The following day, the penitentiary commander reportedly
described Ovidiu Chetea as a "boy who did not fit in and kept crying
all day". The prisoner's file indicated that he had begun serving
his sentence on 14 March 1993.
Amnesty International also received a report of the TimiCoara
Court case file number 5856/1992 and a copy of Penal Sentence number
1223 of 26 June 1992 which sentenced Ovidiu Chetea to 18 months'
imprisonment under Article 200, Paragraph 1, in connection with
Article 41, paragraph 2, and Article 42 of the penal code*28. His
codefendants in the case were Nicolae PetricaC and Nicolae
Stupariu, who, on the same charges, received suspended sentences of
two years and 18 months' imprisonment respectively.
The case of Florian MuCat, Dorin-Alexandru Foia and Traian Pasca
The list of prisoners which Amnesty International received from the
Ministry of Justice also contained information about Florian MuCat
and Dorin-Alexandru Foia, detained in Aiud penitentiary. Both men
were, according to this information, sentenced to two years'
imprisonment by the Alba Iulia court in June 1993.*29 They were
serving concurrent sentences made up as follows: 18 months'
imprisonment under Article 200, paragraph 2, for a homosexual act
committed under duress; eight months' imprisonment under Article 192
for illegally breaking into a house; one year's imprisonment under
Articles 208 and 209 for theft; and six months' imprisonment under
Articles 33 and 34 which allow the increase of the longest
concurrently served sentences.
Amnesty International has received a copy of the court's
judgment which convicted Florian MuCat and Dorin-Alexandru Foia, as
well as Traian Pasca, of offences under Article 200 of the Penal
Code. Although it made no reference to any specific paragraph of
this article, the reasoning of the judgment unambiguously implied
that all three co-defendants were convicted for a consensual
homosexual act in private. Florian MuCat and Dorin-Alexandru Foia
were also found guilty of breaking into Traian Pasca's home and
stealing his watch and dentures.*30
Traian Pasca, who was charged solely under Article 200 with
engaging in consensual homosexual acts between adults in private,
was released in November 1993 after serving half of his 18-month
Amnesty International has urged the authorities to review the
convictions of Florian MuCat and Dorin-Alexandru Foia.
The case of Valentin-Walter Stoica
In December 1994 Amnesty International again received information
from the Ministry of Justice on detainees convicted under Article
200. One of the prisoners listed, Valentin-Walter Stoica, is
currently serving an 18-month prison sentence in Aiud
penitentiary.*31 It was unclear whether he had been sentenced under
paragraph 1 of Article 200. Amnesty International urged the Minister
of Justice to initiate a judicial review of Valentin-Walter Stoica's
In February 1995 Amnesty International received more
information about Valentin-Walter Stoica.*32 He was arrested for
burglary in January 1992 and sentenced by MediaC court to 30 months'
imprisonment. In July 1992 he engaged in a homosexual act with
Zoltan Ioan, with whom he shared a prison cell. Zoltan Ioan also
engaged in a homosexual act with another prisoner, Haler Gheorghe.
All three men were first disciplined by being held in solitary
confinement for 10 days. They were then tried under Article 200,
paragraph 1, in April 1993. According to the Alba Iulia court
record,*33 the accused confessed to the charges and each were
sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment.
Committing another crime while serving a prison sentence is
considered to be recidivism, an offence under Article 37 of the
penal code. In such cases, the courts are obliged to merge the
penalty imposed for the latest conviction with penalties for
previous convictions, so that the sentences are served concurrently.
They may then increase the concurrent sentences.*34
Zoltan Ioan and Haler Gheorghe were released in 1993 and 1994
respectively. Valentin-Walter Stoica was released conditionally on
17 November 1993. Apparently the procedure for imposing concurrent
prison sentences had not been applied in his case. His 18-month
sentence was still outstanding and his prisoner file contains a
warrant for its execution.*35 It arrived nine months after the trial
and only after he had already been released.
In August 1994 Valentin-Walter Stoica was arrested in
Haghilag, a village in Sibiu county, and taken back to Aiud
penitentiary to serve the outstanding 18-month sentence. Valentin-
Walter Stoica was not aware of his legal rights and did not have
legal counsel; he did not raise on appeal these violations of his
rights under national law and international standards. Valentin-
Walter Stoica was interviewed in detention by representatives of the
Romanian Helsinki Committee and the International Gay and Lesbian
Human Rights Commission in January 1995. He told them that his
chances for conditional release after serving half of his sentence
might have diminished because he was considered a recidivist.
In February 1995 Amnesty International called on the Romanian
authorities to release Valentin-Walter Stoica immediately, as a
prisoner of conscience.
Ill-treatment of Article 200 prisoners
Persons charged under Article 200 are also at risk of ill-treatment
in detention.*36 Cristinel Cozma is serving a five-and-a-half-year
sentence in Tulcea Penitentiary for offences under Article 200,
paragraph 2 of the penal code*37. He was arrested with Alexandru
Radu and Doru Mancu on 1 January 1993 in the bar of the Sala
Spaturilor in Tulcea. Cristinel Cozma, Alexandru Radu and Doru Mancu
were charged with forcing another man to engage in homosexual acts.
All three were reportedly severely beaten with truncheons by police
officers. Cristinel Cozma lost consciousness as a result. The men
were beaten in the police station until a senior officer arrived.
Two days after his arrest, Cristinel Cozma was questioned by
the prosecutor. He was then taken to a doctor for treatment of
injuries inflicted by the beatings.
Cristinel Cozma and Alexandru Radu, who were then in military
service, were transferred to a military police unit and questioned
by a military prosecutor. Cristinel Cozma was taken to a military
hospital for further treatment of his injuries. He and Alexandru
Radu were tried by the Military Court in Constanşa. A military
officer was appointed to defend them. Cristinel Cozma and Alexandru
Radu were sentenced to five and a half years' imprisonment and four
and a half years' imprisonment respectively.
Cristinel Cozma claims that the homosexual acts on which the
charges were based were consensual. The man they were accused of
coercing was stopped by police officers in a routine identity card
check after he left the bar. It is assumed that he informed the
police that he had been coerced, although reportedly he did not
testify against the defendants and was not interrogated as a witness
during the trial.
In November 1994 Amnesty International wrote to the General
Prosecutor of Romania expressing concern that Cristinel Cozma,
Alexandru Radu and Doru Mancu might have been convicted solely for
engaging in consensual homosexual acts between adults in private and
that they were allegedly ill-treated by police officers following
their arrest. The organization asked for copies of the civil and
military court decisions on their cases and copies of the medical
records of treatment which Cristinel Cozma received. No reply has
Torture, ill-treatment and deaths in custody
Torture and ill-treatment of detainees is one of the most serious
human rights problems in Romania. Lawyers and local non-governmental
organizations monitoring human rights frequently report that the
incidence of ill-treatment is high and that such cases are
widespread. However, few detainees make official complaints of ill-
treatment and only rarely are cases brought to court. But evidence
points to a pattern of casual violence and illegal acts by police
officers, with little redress for the victims. Only rarely are cases
brought to court.
Torture and ill-treatment are criminal offences in Romania.
Article 22 of the Constitution prohibits torture, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment. In 1991 the penal code was
amended to include a new offence punishing acts of torture with up
to 15 years' imprisonment.
Law enforcement officials who are brought to court are usually
charged under Articles 266 and 267 for illegal arrest, abusive
search and ill-treatment. Amnesty International is aware of only one
conviction under Article 267*1 prohibiting torture. In May 1994
police officer Gheorghe BrA["]niCteanu was sentenced by the
Bucharest Military Tribunal to 15 years' imprisonment for torturing
a detainee, who died from his injuries.
The Ministry of Interior and the General Directorate of
Prisons within the Ministry of Justice are organized like the
military and in many ways have similar status. Therefore prosecution
of law enforcement officials falls under the jurisdiction of the
Almost all reported cases of torture and other ill-treatment
in detention occur in police stations and are perpetrated by police
officers. Detainees arrested on criminal charges, who are ill-
treated by police officers during the initial interrogation, are
frequently coerced by the police into not making complaints, with
promises that "things would be made easier" on the charges they
face. When the court sentence does not reflect this "bargain", the
defendants have no means of appeal.
Lawyers in Romania have told Amnesty International that police
officers sometimes do not allow lawyers to speak to detainees in
private. This denial of confidential communication with counsel is
inconsistent with Principle 18 (3) of the UN Body of Principles for
the Protection of All Persons Under Any Form of Detention or
Imprisonment (UN Body of Principles), Rule 93 of the UN Standard
Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and Principle 8 of the
UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers. If the detainee does not
engage a lawyer, the prosecutor leading the investigation will
appoint one.*39 Under Article 137*1 the presence of a lawyer is
obligatory during an interrogation of a person held under arrest.
However, this is not the case when a suspect is called into the
police station for questioning. Principle 7 of the UN Basic
Principles of the Role of Lawyers states that "all persons arrested
or detained, with or without criminal charge, shall have prompt
access to a lawyer and in any case not later than forty-eight hours
from the time of arrest or detention". Principle 18 (3) of the UN
Body of Principles states that access to a lawyer must be granted
without delay after arrest.
It is during such interrogations that the police officers
often use force, intimidate and otherwise coerce the detainees into
signing statements, in violation of international human rights
standards. Even if the detainee changes his testimony later, before
a prosecutor or during the trial, there are no legal provisions
barring courts from considering statements signed without legal
defence counsel. These statements are often assessed in conjunction
with other evidence. The Supreme Court of Romania also considers
such statements.*40 The admission of statements made under torture
or ill-treatment violates Article 7 of the ICCPR and Article 15 of
the Convention against Torture, as well as being inconsistent with
Article 12 of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from
Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading
Treatment or Punishment. A group of independent lawyers based in
BraCov (APADO) told Amnesty International that roughly 10 per cent
of cases brought to the criminal courts will have serious errors in
Some prosecutors interrogate the detainees without the
presence of police officers involved in the investigation. Usually,
however, the officer in charge of the case is present. In some
cases, detainees have withdrawn the statements they were giving the
prosecutor when the arresting officers entered the room.
Police officers often conduct investigations which should be
performed by the prosecutor. Some military prosecutors investigating
police abuses base their findings exclusively on information
collected by special police officers, responsible for the internal
investigations of complaints made against their colleagues. When
military prosecutors conduct investigations themselves, they often
display overt bias in favour of the police. In one recent case, the
victim was interrogated by the military prosecutor with little
respect for her personal dignity and social situation. In other
instances questions were phrased in such a way as to clearly reflect
the bias of the interrogator. Similar partiality is demonstrated by
military prosecutors in assessing whether to indict the alleged
perpetrator of ill-treatment.
Military prosecutors' decisions are final. They cannot be
appealed in a court.*41 The victims can only complain to a higher
military prosecutor within the Military Section in the General
Prosecutor's Office*42. This provision violates a victim's right to
an effective legal remedy.*43 It also violates a torture victim's
right to redress and compensation.*44 Military prosecutors'
decisions on cases of alleged torture and ill-treatment are only
made available to complainants and their legal representatives.
Despite repeated requests, Amnesty International has been
unable to obtain copies of military prosecutors' decisions. The
organization has been equally unsuccessful in obtaining autopsy
reports from official sources.*45 Without these documents it is
difficult to examine the results and methods of an official
investigation. The authorities' refusal to provide such documents
casts doubts on whether the investigations were conducted thoroughly
and impartially; is inconsistentanother violation of Romania's
obligations under international standards.*46 Moreover, the failure
to make public autopsy reports and prosecutors' decisions in cases
of death in custody after alleged torture is inconsistent with the
authorities' obligation under the UN Principles on the Effective
Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary
Executions. These principles set forth strict standards for
thorough, prompt and impartial investigations in such cases,
including the prompt completion of the investigation and immediate
publication of the report. The report must: "include the scope of
the inquiry, procedures and methods used to evaluate evidence as
well as conclusions and recommendations based on findings of fact
and applicable law. The report shall also describe in detail
specific events that were found to have occurred, and the evidence
upon which such findings were based, and list the names of witnesses
who testified with the exception of those whose identities have been
withheld for their own protection. The Government shall, within a
reasonable period of time, either reply to the report of the
investigation, or indicate the steps to be taken in response to
In many cases of alleged torture and ill-treatment by police
officers the victims were subsequently charged under Law number 61
on Sanctions for Violations of Norms of Social Coexistence and
Public Peace and Order*48 (regulating misdemeanours and further
referred to in this report as Law 61/91). In many cases investigated
by Amnesty International police officers applied this law to justify
excessive use of force. Arbitrary implementation of this law even
leads to deprivation of liberty.*49 A detailed study of Law 61/91
produced by Asociaşia pentru apA["]rarea drepturilor omului i[^]n
Roma[^]nia - Comitetul Helsinki (Romanian Helsinki Committee)*50
describes how the vague wording of some of its provisions leads to
arbitrary decisions and claims that the law's appeals procedure and
the provisions regarding the rights of defence violate international
and European human rights instruments.
The lack of regulations concerning individuals' rights in pre-
trial detention is inconsistent with international and European
standards and is at odds with the constitutional right to the
presumption of innocence.*51 Lawyers and judges who spoke to Amnesty
International claimed that they were not aware of the existence of
such regulations. The Military Prosecutor of Romania told an Amnesty
International delegate in May 1994 that these regulations are not
classified as secret but said he did not have a copy of them. A
senior official of the General Inspectorate of the Police in
Bucharest said he had no authority to disclose these regulations to
Amnesty International.*52 In August 1994 the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs sent Amnesty International a copy of Law number 23/1969
Concerning the Execution of Sanctions, adopted in 1969 and last
amended in May 1973, which contains three articles on preventive
arrest*53. The covering letter stated that "after December 1993 some
new regulations have been adopted in order to improve the treatment
of these people", but Amnesty International has not yet been
provided with any of these new regulations.
The case of Gabriela-Ioana GavrilA["]
Gabriela-Ioana GavrilA["] was leaving her apartment in Bucharest on
the morning of 4 July 1994 when two police officers came out of the
lift and approached her. Major L.*54 told her that he had come to
arrest her. When Gabriela-Ioana GavrilA["] asked why she was being
arrested, Major L. called her a prostitute and told his colleague to
take her away. Gabriela-Ioana GavrilA["] asked if she could
telephone her mother to inform her that she had been arrested, but
she was not allowed to go back into her apartment. Major L.
reportedly kicked her in the abdomen, knocking her to the ground.
She was punched in the back and on the head and then pulled into the
lift, crying and shouting for help. The two officers threatened to
keep beating her unless she kept quiet in front of people who were
standing outside the building. Some of the people asked the police
officers why she was crying for help; they replied that she was "a
big criminal and a thief".
In the police car Gabriela-Ioana GavrilA["] asked Major L. why
she had been beaten and he reportedly replied, "You were beaten?
Who witnessed this? Who is going to believe a prostitute like you?"
She was then taken to the prosecutor's office to be questioned about
the business affairs of her employers. She was released without
charge. Later that day a forensic medical examination confirmed that
the lesions on her body were the result of a beating. She then
returned to the prosecutor accompanied by her employer and
complained about the ill-treatment. The prosecutor reportedly
expressed concern about the legality of her arrest and
interrogation. There is no information, however, that the prosecutor
initiated ex officio an investigation into the allegations.
Gabriela-Ioana GavrilA["] suspects that her ill-treatment by
the police officers and the criminal complaint against the firm
where she works were motivated by the dismissal from the same
enterprise of a temporary assistant.
The case of Gheorghe and Dorin Anghel
On the morning of the 1 August 1994 police officers N., G. and B.
arrived by car at the home of Gheorghe Anghel in the village of
Dobra, in şugag commune. Gheorghe Anghel was away at the time.
Without a warrant or the consent of the family, the officers
entered the Anghel home to serve a civil court ruling against
Gheorghe Anghel. Mrs Anghel could not find her identity card and
received a fine of 10,000 lei.*55
Two days later, police officer G. returned again to serve
Gheorghe Angel with the civil court decision. Gheorghe Angel
explained that the ruling was not final and that an appeal was
pending. The officer then reportedly grabbed Gheorghe Angel by the
chest and struck him, breaking his spectacles. Hearing his cries for
help, Dorin Anghel, his 22-year-old son, came into the courtyard.
The police officer allegedly knocked him to the ground and kicked
him several times.
Dorin Angel was later examined by a doctor in Alba Iulia who
issued a medical certificate describing multiple body lesions caused
by blows with a hard object, which were consistent with his account,
and requiring eight to nine days' medical treatment. Amnesty
International is unaware of any investigation of this incident.
The Case of Ioan Rusu
Ioan Rusu was shot and killed by police officers on 6 August 1994 on
the banks of the river Tur. Only one shot was fired, hitting Ioan
Rusu in the forehead just above the nose.
Villagers from Gherta Mica went to the scene of the shooting and
were told that Ioan Rusu was a thief from another village who was
trying to find transport to Satu Mare. The police officers, however,
reportedly knew Ioan Rusu's identity and later claimed that he had
been fishing without authorization and was suspected of using
dynamite. Amnesty International is not aware of any evidence or
allegations that Ioan Rusu was armed or posing a threat to the life
of a police officer or anyone else.
The prosecutor from Satu Mare arrived to begin an
investigation and reportedly ordered the victim's body to be moved
from the scene of the shooting to the opposite bank of the river.
The autopsy reportedly took place at that location.
The naked body of Ioan Rusu was then taken to his home; his
clothes were never returned to the family. The people who prepared
the body for burial claimed that there were visible signs of beating
on both legs below the knees. One witness claimed that "there were
bruises as if he had been kicked with boots".
The Military Prosecutor of Oradea reportedly decided not to
charge the police officers involved in the incident. The officer who
was under investigation for shooting Ioan Rusu has reportedly been
disciplined by being transferred.
The killing of Ioan Rusu appears to have taken place in
circumstances suggesting that it was an extrajudicial execution in
violation of Ioan Rusu's right to life guaranteed by international
treaties to which Romania is a party. These include the ICCPR, which
states that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life*56 and
the ECHR, which states that everyone's right to life shall be
protected by law.*57
The case of Jo[']zsef Ne[']meth
Jo[']zsef Ne[']meth was on his way home after taking his son to
start military service when he was reportedly assaulted by police
officers. Jo[']zsef Ne[']meth, from the village of Telechia, BrateC
commune, in Covasna county, arrived at Sfi[^]ntu Gheorghe by train
on 18 August 1994, just after midnight. He and a friend waited on a
bench at the train station for the morning train. He was suddenly
approached by three young police officers who asked him if he had
stolen the shoes and clothes that he was carrying. He explained that
these belonged to his son who had just started his army service in
Babadag and that he was taking them home. Jo[']zsef Ne[']meth was
beaten by the three police officers who punched and kicked him. He
was taken to the police station and fined 30,000 lei, for breaching
public peace.*58 Later that day he was treated for the bruising
which he suffered as a result of the assault and was issued with a
On 3 December 1994 the Police Inspectorate of Covasna county
issued a statement denying that police officers had used force
against Jo[']zsef Ne[']meth. The Inspectorate stated that police
officers had intervened after Jo[']zsef Ne[']meth, who was under the
influence of alcohol, had "caused a scandal and insulted a station
cashier". No other investigation had apparently taken place.
The case of Ioan Neagu
Factory worker Ioan Neagu was dismissed from his job at S.C Fartec
S.A., a factory in BraCov. He claimed unfair dismissal and took his
case to court. Although the court upheld his claim, Ioan Neagu was
On 30 September 1994 at around 4.30pm Ioan Neagu went to S.C.
Fartec S.A. which was to be visited by President Iliescu that
afternoon. Before Ioan Neagu reached the main gate he was approached
by factory guards, two of whom started to push him and ordered him
to leave. A BraCov police officer also approached him. Ioan Neagu
told the officer that he did not intend to cause any trouble.
At around 4.50pm Ioan Neagu was standing some 25 metres from
the entrance to the factory, where a crowd still waited to greet the
president. He was suddenly surrounded by several police officers who
reportedly punched and kicked him, tearing his shirt and trousers.
He was dragged into a police car and taken to BraCov police station.
There he was told that he would be charged with disturbing public
peace and the police recorded his personal details. He was detained
until 6.45pm, then released without charge. Amnesty International is
unaware of any prompt and impartial investigation of this incident.
The case of Nicolae Miroiu
Nicolae Miroiu, from BuzA["]u, went to the market in RuCeşu to sell
food and other produce on 8 September 1994. He went for a meal in a
market restaurant with friends. Three police officers, one a
Sergeant Major, were also in the restaurant. Sergeant Major G. and
the other police officers were eating and drinking next to the
entrance. As Nicolae Miroiu left the restaurant he asked one of the
police officers to let him pass. The police officer then pushed and
hit him. When Nicolae Miroiu turned to the other officers for help
he reportedly was punched, kicked, and thrown out of the restaurant.
Two days later Sergeant Major G. saw Nicolae Miroiu at the market
and reportedly told him, "If you complain I will arrest you and take
you to prison where you will be kept because I have many relatives."
Nicolae Miroiu was examined by a forensic medical specialist
at the County Hospital when he returned to BuzA["]u, who recorded
that his right leg was fractured, he had a large bruise over his
left eye and pains in the left side of his chest. These injuries are
consistent with Nicolae Miriou's account. The specialist estimated
that Nicolae Miroiu would need 45 days' medical treatment. Nicolae
Miroiu filed a complaint against the responsible officers in the
County Police Inspectorate. Amnesty International does not know
whether any investigation has taken place.
The case of Stan Oncel
Stan Oncel worked as a guard on the construction site of a housing
block in the Basinului Olimpic area in BuzA["]u. At around 10pm on
22 October 1994 he was approached by a police officer accompanied by
a soldier. They asked him what he was doing at the construction
site, but before he could reply the police officer reportedly
punched him between the eyes, stunning him. When Stan Oncel tried to
raise his arms to protect his head, the soldier reportedly struck
him from the right side with the butt of his rifle and broke his
Stan Oncel fainted. When he regained consciousness he was in
the police station, handcuffed, and with blood streaming down his
neck. He was fined 20,000 lei for disturbing the peace*59 and then
released. The police records allegedly state that he "regretted
committing the act". Stan Oncel, however, refused to sign this
record and disputed its content.
On 24 October 1994 Stan Oncel arrived at work at around
10.30am. Four hours later he was found lying unconscious on the
ground. He was taken to the Micro XIV hospital where he was x-rayed
and found to have a fractured jaw. No specialist was available to
treat him. The following day he underwent private surgery. According
to a certificate issued on the same day by a government forensic
medical specialist, Stan Oncel had traumatic lesions and massive
bruising of the face and a fracture on the right side of the jaw
which necessitated surgical immobilization. These injuries required
45-50 days of medical treatment. Stan Oncel filed a complaint about
the incident with the police commander in BuzA["]u.
In January 1995 Amnesty International urged the General
Prosecutor of Romania to initiate a prompt, independent and
impartial inquiry into Stan Oncel's complaint. The organization also
expressed its concern that Stan Oncel was reportedly not provided
with adequate medical treatment while detained in the police station
in BuzA["]u. Principle 24 of the UN Body of Principles for the
Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or
Imprisonment requires that:
"A proper medical examination shall be offered to a
detained or imprisoned person as promptly as possible
after his admission to the place of detention or
imprisonment, and thereafter medical care and treatment
shall be provided whenever necessary. This care and
treatment shall be provided free of charge."
Rule 24 of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of
Prisoners contains a similar requirement.
The case of Viorica CA["]prişa, Andrei Zanopol and Sorin şişei
Viorica CA["]prişa, a city councillor in Galaşi, went to pick up her
car where she had left it near the bus station in Mazepa, in Galaşi
on 9 November 1994 at around 7.30pm. When she could not find it she
called "Autobloc", a private company authorized to remove illegally
parked vehicles, and was told that her car had been taken to the
depot. She believed the firm's authorization had recently been
revoked by Galaşi City Council. Accompanied by two journalists from
the newspaper Ziua and the magazine Imparşial, Andrei Zanopol*60 and
Sorin şişei*61, she went to the "Autobloc" depot, presented her
credentials and asked to see the company's authorization to tow away
illegally parked vehicles. The manager and three employees of
"Autobloc" reportedly attacked Andrei Zanopol, punching and kicking
him and breaking his camera and cassette recorder. Viorica
CA["]prişa and Sorin şişei were also beaten. Two police officers,
who were present during the incident, reportedly made no attempt to
intervene. Several other police officers then arrived in four police
cars. They also reportedly refused to protect Viorica CA["]prişa and
the two journalists and did not allow them to call the police
station or to go there to file a complaint until 10.30pm.
In January 1995 the Minister of Interior informed Amnesty
International that following an investigation of this case three
police officers had been disciplined for "lack of firmness and
inadequate execution of their legal duty". Amnesty International
asked the Minister for a copy of the report of the police
investigation. The organization also asked whether the Military
Prosecutor had investigated the allegations of ill-treatment. In
April 1995 the Minister replied that he could not provide a copy of
the report of the police investigation. Furthermore, the Military
Prosecutor "was not informed because the police agents were not
involved, as parties in conflict; they tried, without favourable
result to settle the dispute".
The case of Robert Radu
On 10 January 1995 18-year-old Robert Radu was summoned to his local
police station for questioning about an attempted rape. His parents
accompanied him but left when the interview began at 8pm. The person
who had filed the complaint against Robert Radu was reportedly
present during the interrogation.
Robert Radu denied all the allegations made against him and
officer S. reportedly beat him. Robert Radu was then given a pen and
the officer dictated what he should write down as his statement.
When Robert Radu refused to do this, officer S. took a club, beat
him on the arms, head and legs and fractured the shin of his left
leg. He then wrote down the statement as it was dictated to him.
Since Robert Radu could no longer stand or walk, officer S. took him
through the back exit and into his car. On the way to the hospital
officer S. threatened to kill Robert Radu unless he said that he had
injured himself falling down the stairs. Officer S. would in
exchange close the file on the rape allegation by fining him 70,000
lei. The officer left the hospital immediately after Robert Radu was
taken away on a stretcher.
On 12 January 1995 Robert Radu was visited in the hospital by
Lieutenant G. and another officer to take his statement about the
complaint that had been filed against him. They reportedly tore up
the statement made under duress and said that they were opening a
new file on the case. On the same day Robert Radu was examined by a
forensic expert. The expert's report was not made public. However,
according to a detailed report from the hospital, Robert Radu was
admitted to the emergency ward with contusions covering his arms,
chest and legs, and an open fracture of the tibia of his left leg.
In March 1995 Robert Radu was reportedly intimidated on
several occasions by officer S. against whom he had filed a
The Roma - a catalogue of injustice
The 1990s have seen a rise of ethnic intolerance across Romania,
with a particular impact on the Roma.*62 A long history of racial
prejudice and neglect for the needs of this community is evident not
only in Romania, but throughout the region. Amnesty International
has documented cases of imprisonment, beatings and other ill-
treatment as well as failure of law enforcement officers to protect
Roma from racist violence in Romania.
In 1994 at least three Roma, who were detained apparently
solely because of their ethnic background, were considered to be
prisoners of conscience. There were also cases of Roma who were
subjected to beatings and other ill-treatment by law enforcement
officers. Amnesty International believes that in most instances such
treatment was racially motivated. The number of such acts is
difficult to estimate. Most of the victims are not aware of their
rights to file complaints, or if they are, believe that, as a
result, their situation would only deteriorate. Some are openly
threatened by law enforcement officers should they seek a judicial
redress. Their position is further aggravated by their impoverished
economic situation. In some instances they cannot even afford to
travel to the county centre to seek protection from higher
authorities or to obtain a medical certificate for the injuries they
Sometimes the victims are assaulted by law enforcement
officers in public. This is particularly dangerous because it
demonstrates official endorsement of racist attitudes and acts. Such
conduct among police officers not only leads to human rights
violations, but also leaves those most vulnerable to racist attacks
without adequate protection.
Since 1990 many Roma communities throughout Romania have
been subjected to incidents of racial violence. Amnesty
International is concerned that in most of these incidents the
authorities failed adequately to protect Roma lives and property.
The pattern of police failure adequately to protect Roma is typified
by events in Giurgiu county during 1991.
In April 1991 a mob attacked the Roma community in Bolentin
Deal, after an ethnic Romanian was shot by a Roma. Although aware of
the high risk of racist violence, police failed to prevent the mob
from setting fire to 21 Roma houses and destroying another five.
Five more houses were burned when some of the Roma tried to return
to the village a month later.
In May 1991, 25 Roma houses were burned or destroyed in
Ogrezeni while police were reportedly patrolling the area. A few
days later seven Roma homes were destroyed and four were burned in
nearby Bolentin Vale in spite of the presence of a large police
force in the village. In June 1991, six houses were destroyed and
three burned in GA["]iseni.
None of these incidents has been fully and impartially
investigated.*63 There has been no investigation of the role of the
police officers who were patrolling the villages during the violence
and no disciplinary measures are known to have been taken against
This pattern of inadequate official protection and apparently
discriminatory treatment of Roma is repeated throughout Romania. The
responsibility for such conduct ultimately lies with the Romanian
Government and other national authorities, including the General
Prosecutor of Romania.
In January 1990, two hours after a call had been made by a
local police officer, around 40 police officers came to the village
of Turulung, in Satu Mare county, to intervene in anti-Roma violence
in which 38 houses were burned down or otherwise destroyed. No
measures were taken against the perpetrators of violence in the
course of the police action and the investigation into the violence
has not yet been completed.*64
During the events of 13-15 June 1990 in Bucharest the Roma
community appeared to be singled out in a way which suggested
official coordination. Groups of miners, sometimes accompanied by
police officers, reportedly targeted Roma homes, savagely beating
the inhabitants, and attacked suspected Roma in the streets. No
official investigation into any of the incidents is known to have
In July 1990 in Ca[^]lnic, in Alba county, local police
officers reportedly participated in racial violence during which
several Roma homes were damaged. In August 1990 in Huedin, in Cluj
county, four police officers reportedly took no steps to protect a
dozen Roma who were beaten by a crowd. There were reports that the
mayor and local police in Mihai KogA["]lniceanu, in Constanşa
county, instigated anti-Roma violence in which 25 houses were burned
down and another eight destroyed. In June 1991 in PlA["]ieCti de
Sus, Harghita county, two days after an incident in which an ethnic
Hungarian villager was stabbed, the Roma were told to leave the
village within 12 hours. The mayor and local police took no steps to
prevent anti-Roma violence in which 27 houses were burned down. In
August 1991 local police in VA["]lenii LA["]puCului reportedly
failed adequately to protect the Roma from violence in which 19
houses were burned or destroyed in one neighbourhood and failed to
take any measures to prevent violence spreading to another
neighbourhood in which eight other houses were burned down. No
investigation into the conduct of law enforcement officers in any of
these cases is known to have taken place.*66
No one has been charged for an attack by soldiers on Roma in
Bucharest in July 1992*67. In November 1994 the General Prosecutor
informed Amnesty International that the soldiers, after being
provoked, "spontaneously beat Roma with rubber truncheons" and that
the decision of the Military Prosecutor not to indict anyone was
considered legally justified.
No law enforcement officer has been charged for failing to
protect the lives of three Roma killed during a racist riot in the
Transylvanian village of HA["]dA["]reni in September 1993. This and
a series of subsequent incidents in the village have been thoroughly
documented by Amnesty International and other international and
Romanian human rights organizations. The fact that they have taken
place in spite of continuing scrutiny of international public
opinion is an indication of the Romanian authorities' disregard for
their commitment to uphold the human rights of all citizens.
International concern, expressed after documentation of these human
rights violations by Amnesty International and other national and
international human rights organizations, may have prevented the
situation in the village in autumn 1993 from further deteriorating.
As a State Party to the ICCPR Romania is bound to ensure that
all the rights guaranteed by this Covenant are enjoyed by everyone
in the country "without distinction of any kind, such as race,
colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion,
national or social origin, property, birth or other status ".*68
Furthermore, under ICCPR Article 2 (2), Romania has a positive
obligation to ensure the rights guaranteed in the Covenant are
implemented. The same ICCPR provision goes on to require States
Parties to "adopt such legislative or other measures as may be
necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in the present
Covenant". The ECHR contains similar obligations in Articles 1 and
14. The provisions of the International Convention on the
Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, cited earlier in
this report, further specify obligations that States Parties had
undertaken to "pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a
policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms".*69
The HA["]dA["]reni case
Racial violence erupted in the village of HA["]dA["]reni, MureC
County, which had a Roma community of around 170 people, in
It began on 20 September 1993 when a fight broke out between
seven or eight Romanians and two Roma brothers, Rupa Lucian
LA["]cA["]tuC and Pardalian LA["]cA["]tuC. The LA["]cA["]tuC
brothers were threatened with pitchforks and Pardalian LA["]cA["]tuC
was injured in the head. Rupa Lucian LA["]cA["]tuC then reportedly
killed Gheşan CrA["]ciun by stabbing him in the throat with a knife.
After the killing the LA["]cA["]tuC brothers fled to the house
of Lucreşia Moldovanu. Between 400 and 500 Romanians and ethnic
Hungarians from HA["]dA["]reni and neighbouring villages gathered in
front of the house and set fire to it.
When the LA["]cA["]tuC brothers tried to escape from the
burning house armed police officers arrested one of them and
handcuffed him. The crowd grabbed the two men and started beating
and kicking them. The police reportedly stood aside and took no
steps to protect the LA["]cA["]tuC brothers; they died on the way to
the hospital. Witnesses who saw one of the bodies said that it was
covered with bruises and cuts, and the limbs were contorted.
There was another man in the house, Mircea Zoltan, the
brother-in-law of the LA["]cA["]tuC brothers. After the crowd beat
the brothers to death, Mircea Zoltan was too afraid to leave the
house. He died in the fire; his charred remains were found the next
Several reports indicate that a police force of around 50
arrived in the village an hour after the violence began but did not
take adequate measures to prevent the crowd from setting fire to
other Roma houses. Fire brigades from Ti[^]rgu MureC, LuduC and
Tirnaveni were sent to HA["]dA["]reni to fight the fires. They were
reportedly prevented by the crowd and some of the policemen from
extinguishing the fires in Roma houses. One fire brigade did not
attempt to extinguish the fire, saying that it was too late to save
any property. The last Roma house was set on fire by the crowd at
Thirteen houses were destroyed by the fire and four others
were vandalized beyond repair*70. Houses which had not been
destroyed by the fire were broken into, looted and heavily damaged.
It was also reported that members of the police force did not
ensure the safety and protect the property of the fleeing Roma.
According to a Rom who was forced to flee his home, "Police officers
watched and laughed as a TV set and a video-recorder were stolen
from my home."
All the Roma were forced to abandon their homes and hide in
the surrounding fields. Most were not able to return to their homes
until 27 September 1993 for fear of further attacks and lack of
trust that the police would protect them.
Such fears were well grounded. On 24 September 1993 Maria
Moldovan and Violeta Moldovan tried to return to their home in
HA["]dA["]reni to collect some of their livestock. On the way to the
village they were reportedly met by a police officer, whose identity
is known to Amnesty International, and a villager who attacked and
beat them, warning them not to come back.
The Romanian Government, in a statement of 23 September 1993,
appeared to blame the Roma for causing the violence.
"...the Roma families [were] illegally settled in the
area. Their behaviour, culminating in the cold blood
killing of a young man, stirred the spontaneous reaction
of the other inhabitants of the village, both Romanians
and Hungarians, degenerating into acts of violence."
The government expressed its determination to restore law and
order to the village, investigate the violence in HA["]dA["]reni and
to bring to justice those found responsible.
On 28 September 1993 Amnesty International urged President
Iliescu to ensure that the investigation examined the conduct of law
enforcement officials in these criminal acts of racial violence.
Allegations that they had failed in their duty to offer the fullest
protection to citizens who were manifestly at risk should also be
investigated. Amnesty International particularly urged the Romanian
authorities to ensure a prompt, thorough and impartial inquiry into
these incidents, conducted in accordance with international
standards, such as the Principles on the Effective Prevention and
Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.
Nevertheless, Amnesty International continued to receive
reports that the Roma community in HA["]dA["]reni was receiving
inadequate protection from the police. In October villagers of
HA["]dA["]reni organized public meetings to decide whether the Roma
would be allowed to return. Some of these meetings were attended by
local and government authorities.
In the afternoon of 29 October 1993 a group of about 20 Roma
from HA["]dA["]reni tried to attend a meeting between the local
authorities and a government representative. The Roma were not
allowed to enter the building. When the Roma asked to speak to Mr
Muresan, the government representative, who had reportedly invited
them to this meeting, they were told to wait outside. Then the
village church bells tolled and a crowd of around 60 Romanian and
ethnic-Hungarian residents of HA["]dA["]reni arrived, armed with
pitch forks, sticks, whips and other objects, reportedly threatening
to attack the Roma and chanting, "The bloody Gypsies have to leave."
The group of Roma turned to face the wall of the building to
demonstrate that their intentions were peaceful and that they would
not defend themselves if attacked.
At the time of this incident around 30 police officers were
present in the village, including the chief of the MureC County
Police and his deputy. Several police officers stood between the
Roma and the armed villagers to prevent an attack on the Roma. No
one, however, was disarmed or charged with any criminal offence
following this incident. The armed residents of the village then met
the local authorities and Mr Muresan. The Roma were not allowed to
attend this meeting.
At a subsequent meeting organized by the Romanian authorities
on 2 November 1993 a 25-member commission of HA["]dA["]reni
residents was established to decide which Roma families would be
allowed to continue to live in HA["]dA["]reni. Initially, no Roma
were appointed to this commission, but after protests from members
of the local Roma community, who were allowed to attend the meeting,
two Roma were elected. The commission met on 3 November 1993. It
reportedly decided that four Roma families should be allowed to stay
in HA["]dA["]reni, and that 21 families should leave the village by
6 November. On 8 November 1993 an official of the MureC Prefect's
office arrived in HA["]dA["]reni reportedly to prepare the legal
grounds for the expulsion of Roma families. Some residents of
HA["]dA["]reni have reportedly publicly threatened to attack the
Roma again unless the commission's decision is carried out. Amnesty
International is unaware of any steps taken by the authorities in
response to these threats.
On 9 November 1993 Amnesty International expressed its concern
to President Iliescu about the participation of the government and
local authority representatives at meetings discussing the forcible
expulsion of Roma from HA["]dA["]reni, as well as the blatantly
inadequate police protection in situations where the lives and
safety of the Roma in the village are at risk. Such acts
demonstrated that the Romanian authorities were not protecting the
rights and freedoms of all people without discrimination.
On 14 December 1993 a fight broke out between a Rom and a
Romanian during which the latter suffered a cut above the eye.
Around eight Roma families fled the village in fear of reprisals
after the church bells tolled at 6pm as a sign for the villagers to
gather. More Roma families left the village when the bells were rung
again on the evening of 15 December 1993. The LuduC police reported
that the situation in the village was under control, but no one is
known to have been charged with inciting violence.
As of the date of this report, the authorities have failed to
ivestigate these incidents. No one has been charged to date for the
killings of the three Roma, the destruction of property or the
subsequent alleged ill-treatment of Roma by the police in
Ill-treatment of Costel Moldovan and imprisonment of Maria Moldovan
On 27 November 1993 in HA["]dA["]reni at around 5pm, Costel
Moldovan, a Rom, was returning home from the local mill with a bag
of flour. In front of the House of Culture he was stopped by four
police officers, one of whom asked him what he was carrying. He was
then ordered to enter the House of Culture where the police officers
reportedly punched and kicked him all over his body. Costel Moldovan
believed that he was beaten because he had been helping to repair
damaged Roma homes.
On the same day Maria Moldovan,*71 Costel's mother, went to
the police to complain about the beating. "They told me that he was
not beaten and that Costel may have suffered injuries from a fall,"
she told an Amnesty International delegate. She returned accompanied
by her son to confront the police officers again. They were then
asked to show their identity cards. While Maria Moldovan went home
to get her ID card the police officers again reportedly beat Costel
Maria and Costel Moldovan were each fined 10,000 lei for
disturbing the public peace.*72 The police report stated that Maria
Moldovan had disturbed the public peace "by shouting that her son
had been beaten".*73 Costel Moldovan paid his fine hoping in that
way to prevent further harassment by police.
However, Maria Moldovan appealed against the fine to the
Ti[^]rgu MureC Court, initiating a judicial review of her case. A
court hearing had been set for 26 August 1994. However, the same
court apparently issued an arrest warrant for Maria Moldovan,
converting the fine into 33 days' imprisonment. She was arrested on
15 June 1994 by two local police officers, who knew of her appeal,
and was imprisoned in the Ti[^]rgu MureC Penitentiary. The next day
Costel Moldovan went to the court but did not find an arrest warrant
in his mother's file. He did not have legal advice and he paid the
fine after being told that his mother would not be released unless
he did. Maria Moldovan was set free on 17 June 1994.
On 7 October 1994 the court dismissed Maria Moldovan's case
because the fine had been paid. Costel Moldovan told an Amnesty
International delegate that an officer from the General Police
Inspectorate in Bucharest had come in the autumn of 1994 to
investigate this case. The inspector had asked Costel to identify
the officers who had allegedly beaten him. They were all still on
duty in HA["]dA["]reni.
In June 1994 Amnesty International expressed its concern to
the Minister of Justice that Maria Moldovan had been a prisoner of
conscience and asked him to review the case. No reply has yet been
received. Amnesty International is also not aware that any
investigation into the ill-treatment of Costel Moldovan has taken
Harassment of LacA["] family
Police officers reportedly beat and otherwise ill-treated Roma in
other parts of MureC County during December 1993 and April 1994.
Several members of the LacA["] family, who are Roma, were ill-
treated by police officers in Valea LargA["]. One of the police
officers who reportedly ill-treated members of the LacA["] family,
Officer M., was previously posted in HA["]dA["]reni. He was on duty
at the time of the racist violence on 21 September 1993. The LacA["]
family believe they were targeted by Officer M. and the local police
because they provided shelter to Persida RostraC, widow of one of
the victims of HA["]dA["]reni violence, who was not allowed to
return to the village.
On the evening of 24 December 1993 Mircea LacA["], aged 19,
and his cousin Valentin LacA["], aged 23, became involved in an
argument in the village bar with another customer who reprimanded
Valentin LacA["] for shouting. Four police officers, who were
outside the bar in a car, tried to apprehend Mircea and Valentin who
ran to their home around 50 metres away. Shortly afterwards, the
police officers, including officer M., came to the house of the
LacA["] family and started to question Elena LacA["], Mircea's
mother. One officer reportedly attacked her, hitting her on the face
and tearing her blouse. Another officer started to beat Liviu
LacA["], a 12-year-old boy, and Corina BA["]ndula, Elena LacA["]'s
daughter-in-law. The police then handcuffed Mircea LacA["] and
reportedly beat him all over his body. "He was placed between two
wooden benches and the officers continued to beat him by hitting the
top bench," Elena LacA["] told an Amnesty International delegate.
She said that he was also hit with truncheons on the soles of his
feet. The officers allegedly shouted, "We will kill you as well as
all the other gypsies". Mircea LacA["] was then taken to the police
station where he was held for an hour and a half, after which he was
released without being given any reason for his detention.
Occasional police harassment of the LacA["] family continued
and on 10 April 1994 Elena and Mircea LacA["] visited Colonel Ioan
Pop, chief of the MureC county police, and filed a complaint about
the conduct of the police in Valea LargA["].
Valentin LacA["], Mircea's father, who also complained about
the harassment to the local police, later received a summons from
the court ordering him to pay a fine of 20,000 lei or face two
months' imprisonment. On 22 April, at around 7pm, Valentin LacA["]
went to the police station to inquire about the grounds for the
fine. Officer M., cursing him, refused to answer. On leaving the
station Valentin LacA["] was stopped by a local official and another
police officer, whose identities are known to Amnesty International.
Reportedly, the local official then started to beat Valentin LacA["]
while officer M. and the other officer kicked him. A woman, who ran
to the group to ask why they were beating Valentin LacA["],
reportedly was slapped on the face and kicked. When Valentin LacA["]
got up and tried to run away, officer M. drew his gun and fired
On 20 June Amnesty International wrote to the Minister of
Interior urging him to conduct a thorough and impartial
investigation into the reported ill-treatment of members of the
LacA["] family. In November 1994 the Ministry of Interior informed
Amnesty International that the police in Valea LargA["] denied ill-
treating any member of the LacA["] family. Valentin LacA["] had been
fined under Law 61/1991, Article 2, letters a and ş,*74 for acts
committed on 24 December 1993. The authorities confirmed that
officer M. had been chief of Cheşani local police in the same
county. "His summary punishment and transfer, as head of local
police, to Valea LargA["] occurred soon after the September 1993
events that took place in HA["]dA["]reni." Amnesty International
has not received the report of any investigation which may have
taken place into the alleged ill-treatment of Valentin LacA["] on 22
April and officer M.'s use of the firearm. Principles 11 (f) and 22
of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law
Enforcement Officials require reporting of the use of firearms and
the establishment of effective review procedures for such incidents.
This does not seem to have occurred.
Racist violence in Ba[^]cu
The most recent incident of anti-Roma violence in Romania occurred
on 8 January 1995 in Ba[^]cu, Giurgiu county. This village is
situated only 23 kilometres south of Bucharest in a region with a
history of similar incidents described earlier in this report.
Between 2 - 3am on 8 January 1995, in Ba[^]cu, Joişa commune,
a fight broke out between four or five 15 to 19-year-old Roma and
members of the D. family. When the Roma went into the house of Ioana
şuşui they were pursued into the courtyard by members of the D.
family, one of whom fired from a shotgun hitting Marinache Meclescu
and Maria Savu, a 64-year-old woman. The Roma then took the shotgun
away and drove the injured to the Emergency Hospital in Bucharest
where subsequently Maria Savu's left leg was amputated. Afterwards
the shotgun was deposited and a complaint was filed with the General
Inspectorate of the Police.
The chief of the Joişa police, accompanied by around 20 police
officers, came to intervene in Ba[^]cu at around 4am on 8 January.
He found that many of the Roma had already fled the village fearing
an outbreak of violence by other villagers. The police chief
reportedly saw that the villagers were "agitated and that some of
them were inciting anti-Roma violence".*75 The same day at around
7pm the church bells tolled and a group of villagers gathered in
preparation for violence. The police chief came to the church and
casting a spotlight on the group was in a position to identify them.
He reportedly thought that this action was sufficient to disperse
them, but nevertheless he organized police officers to stand guard
around the houses of the şuşui and D. families to prevent possible
arson or other attacks. The group, however, set fire to three other
Roma houses and destroyed a fourth one, which was still under
construction. None of the Roma whose houses were destroyed were
implicated in the incident of the previous night. The police chief
then sought reinforcement from gendarmerie troops and firemen, who
reportedly arrived in the village shortly afterwards.
The Roma returned to their homes in Ba[^]cu four or five days
later after they were convinced that a gendarmerie unit would remain
in the village to guard them. Some of them complained, however, that
they were threatened and insulted by other villagers ("When the
gendarmes leave we will show you!"), that they were afraid to send
their children to school and that during their absence some of their
homes were looted. The Giurgiu county prosecutor is reportedly
investigating the incident in which the two Roma were shot, while
the police are conducting an investigation into the arson and
destruction of Roma property. However, no one has yet been charged
with any crime.
Amnesty International is concerned that law enforcement
authorities in Ba[^]cu on 8 January 1995, although in a position to
identify instigators and prevent incidents of anti-Roma violence,
did not take adequate measures to prevent actions which resulted in
placing at risk human lives and in arson and destruction of
property. All acts of inciting violence are prohibited by the
Romanian Penal Code.*76 The people who rang the church bells on the
evening of 8 January and urged those who gathered at the church in
response to "make another Bolentin" had apparently committed a
punishable offence. Law enforcement officers, a police chief and
around 20 officers, who witnessed these acts did not take any
measures against their perpetrators.
Amnesty International wrote on 21 February 1995 to President
Ion Iliescu urging him to ensure that all necessary measures were
taken to protect the Roma in Ba[^]cu from any further racist
violence; to promptly, thoroughly and independently investigate the
incident in which Roma lives and property were placed at risk, as
well as to investigate the conduct of law enforcement officers in
failing adequately to protect them; to make public the findings of
these investigations and to bring to justice all those responsible
for human rights abuses.
Amnesty International also urges President Ion Iliescu to
initiate an independent inquiry into all incidents in which law
enforcement officials failed adequately to protect Roma lives and
property in Romania since 1990. As soon as possible after the
conclusion of its work this inquiry should issue a full public
report on its methods, findings, conclusions and recommendations.
Appropriate measures, including criminal prosecution, should be
initiated against all those responsible for human rights abuses.
Amnesty International also appealed to President Ion Iliescu
to exercise his powers under Articles 86 and 87 of the Romanian
Constitution and to initiate a governmental review of the laws and
other rules governing the conduct of and procedures employed by law
enforcement officials in responding to and protecting against racist
In April 1995 Romanian authorities acknowledged that " a group
of villagers in Ba[^]cu, agitated by the church bells, set fire to
the houses of two Gypsies". In the course of this incident the law
enforcement officials "intervened promptly to avoid the extension of
the conflict". A police investigation identified 20 persons as
participants to the arson. They were questioned "on charges of
complicity to crime, incitement to public disorder and extolling
crime, disorderly conduct, trespassing and destruction of private
property". Amnesty International is not aware that an investigation
of the police failure to protect Roma lives and property in Ba[^]cu
is taking place.
The case of Emil and Virgil MacA["]u
Amnesty International believes that the number of cases in which
Roma are subjected to torture and other ill-treatment as well as
detention is greater than reported to Romanian authorities or human
rights organizations. Many of the victims are not aware of their
right to file complaints or have no faith that they would be
investigated impartially. The case of Emil and Virgil MacA["]u
illustrates how human rights violations escalated following a
complaint against a local police officer.
Police harassment of Emil MacA["]u, a Rom, and members of his
family in Victoria, BraCov county, began in August 1993. Nine months
later, in April 1994, Emil and his brother Virgil were reportedly
beaten and otherwise ill-treated and imprisoned for two months and
40 days respectively for disturbing public peace. Amnesty
International considered them to be prisoners of conscience.
In the afternoon of 23 August 1993 Emil MacA["]u had an
argument with his upstairs neighbours whose faulty plumbing was
leaking into the MacA["]u apartment. A woman from the same
neighbourhood complained to the police about Emil MacA["]u's conduct
and Sergeant G. came to investigate the incident. After the officer
came into Emil MacA["]u's apartment without a warrant Emil MacA["]u
told him that there was no need for his intervention since the leak
had stopped. He refused to follow the officer to the police station
Several days later Emil MacA["]u received three fines all
issued on the date of the incident, 23 August 1993: a 10,000 lei
fine for "refusing to come to the police station after provoking a
disturbance", a 2,000 lei fine for being "in a state of
inebriation", a 25,000 lei fine for addressing insulting remarks to
A. V. (mentioned as witness in the first two citations) and
disturbing public peace. Although he did not believe himself guilty
of these charges Emil MacA["]u paid all three fines.
On 2 September 1993, Emil MacA["]u addressed a letter to the
Police Commander in Victoria, complaining that Sergeant G. had
intimidated his family when he came to their apartment on 23 August
1993 and that the officer was under the influence of alcohol. He
sent a copy of this letter to the State Secretary for National
Minorities of Romania.
On 29 September 1993 Emil MacA["]u and his wife were walking
in the centre of the town when Police Commander M. stopped them and
asked Emil to come to his office to discuss his complaint. Emil
refused to go into the police station, saying that he had submitted
a complaint in writing and was expecting a written reply. The same
day he was fined 10,000 lei for "refusing to come to Victoria police
station to clarify a complaint concerning his person. He refused to
give any information and to obey the request of the police officer."
Emil MacA["]u paid this fine as well, in fear of more police
harassment. This time he complained to the Mayor of Victoria who
replied that the matter was entirely within police competence. The
police, however, had still not replied to the first complaint.
In November 1993 Emil MacA["]u went to Bucharest to the
Romanian Parliament. He submitted his complaint and met the
President of the Commission for Human Rights, Religious Affairs and
National Minorities of the Chamber of Deputies. After the commission
forwarded this complaint to the Ministry of Interior, Emil MacA["]u
received an answer from the Victoria police. The letter, which was
dated 29 September (the day he was fined after refusing to come to
the police station), explained that the police intervention on 23
August had been carried out legally and that he had been fined for
committing several infractions. The fact that he had paid these
fines proved that he "admitted his guilt because he would have,
otherwise, contested the fines". The letter also stated that he was
invited on 29 September "to clarify the situation but refused to
accept this offer...We warn you to respect the law or we shall
prosecute you in court."
Emil MacA["]u was summoned again to come to the police station
on 9 March 1994. No mention of any charges was made in this summons
which was delivered to the MacA["]u home by Sergeant G. and Captain
D. Emil was not at home and his wife explained that he had nothing
more to say to them and would not come to the station. Another
summons was issued for 15 March 1994. On 21 March Sergeant G.
together with a civilian waited in front of the house for Emil to
come home. The next morning at 6am Captain D., Sergeant G. and
another officer came to the MacA["]u apartment and forced their way
in, in spite of the protests of Maria MacA["]u who asked to see a
search warrant. The officers, without presenting a warrant, searched
the apartment and manhandled and intimidated five MacA["]u children
who were still in bed. The next day the entire family went to the
Romanian Parliament in Bucharest and told a member of the Commission
for Human Rights that they feared to return to their home. The
President of the Committee addressed another letter to the Minister
of Interior. The MacA["]u family stayed in Bucharest for three
On 17 April they returned to Victoria. At around 3pm Emil
MacA["]u with his brother Virgil and their wives went into town to
buy some food. They were stopped by two police officers who asked
Emil to come to the police station. He refused and went on into a
store. They were shortly followed by Captain D., officers P. and G.
and one other officer who locked the door of the shop. The policemen
took hold of Emil and Virgil and twisted their arms behind their
backs. One of the officers pointed a gun at the women and said that
he would shoot anyone who tried to resist arrest. Then the wives
were forced out of the store. Maria MacA["]u asked to see the arrest
warrant and Captain D. showed her only the summons to the police
station for Emil. This summons she saw was not signed by the
prosecutor and did not carry his seal as an arrest warrant would
have to. The entire incident had been recorded on videotape by an
unidentified person in civilian clothes. The police then called the
prosecutor and the police from FA["]gA["]raC, a larger town nearby.
Following their arrest Emil and Virgil MacA["]u were taken to
FA["]gA["]raC and charged under Law 61/91 with disturbing the
public peace. They were tried the next day in a summary procedure
provided under Law 61/91, in the presence of a lawyer appointed by
the court. The hearings were not public and the family could not
attend. The wives were not allowed even into the corridor of the
court building. The lawyer who represented the MacA["]u brothers was
summoned to the court house just before the hearing was about to
begin. She was not allowed any time to speak to the defendants or to
view the case file. During the hearing a witness, Liliana Dahi, the
wife of the store owner, testified that neither of the defendants
had resisted arrest. When told by the prosecutor that a "witness"
had recorded the arrest on videotape the lawyer requested that this
film be presented to the court as evidence. This request was
rejected by the court with the explanation that it would take too
long since the videotape was by then in the possession of the BraCov
Emil and Virgil MacA["]u were pronounced guilty of disturbing
the public peace because "while on the terrace in front of the shop,
waiting handcuffed for the prosecutor to arrive, around 200 people
who had gathered were insulted by this sight". Emil was sentenced
to two months' imprisonment and Virgil to 40 days'. On 20 April
their appeal - request for re-examination and suspension of the
sentence - was rejected by two judges of the same court which tried
them earlier. Emil MacA["]u served his sentence in the police
station in FA["]gA["]raC while Virgil was detained in the Codlea
Following his release on 16 June 1994 Emil MacA["]u claimed
that after his arrest, while waiting in the Victoria police station
for the FA["]gA["]raC prosecutor to arrive, several police officers
punched and kicked him all over his body. For five days following
his arrest he reportedly suffered from fever and urinated blood as a
result of the beating, but police officers in the FA["]gA["]raC
police station refused to take him to a doctor for medical
treatment. Police abuse stopped on 21 April 1994 after he was
visited by a deputy of the Romanian Parliament and a member of its
Commission for Human Rights.
Emil MacA["]u told a representative of Amnesty International
in November 1994 that he was continually harassed by people whom he
suspects to have been instigated by the police. In one such incident
on 31 October, at around 3.30am while waiting at a bus stop in
Victoria, Emil MacA["]u was attacked and beaten by a man who
allegedly told him that "officer P. told me to give you a good
beating". Emil later reported the incident to the police, who told
him that they could not take any steps unless there were witnesses.
Emil MacA["]u had also been questioned by an official of the
Ministry of Interior in connection with his arrest and ill-treatment
in April 1994. One of the witnesses to the harassment of MacA["]u
family, VioricA["] şintireag, had reportedly also been questioned by
the same official and asked how she was going to testify before the
judicial authorities. Two days later she had reportedly been fined
10,000 lei "for being in a state of inebriation". She has appealed
A Ministry of Interior report on the MacA["]u case, dated 26
October 1994, denied that the actions of the Victoria police on 22
March 1994 had been arbitrary. It also denied that an unauthorized
search of the MacA["]u apartment had taken place. "Two officers from
Victoria police came to the MacA["]u apartment and as no one
answered the doorbell they left without entering the premises." This
is in contradiction to a statement of a witness, contained in the
court file, who testified that Maria MacA["]u had opened the door of
the apartment and that the police officers went in to verify whether
Emil was there.
In March 1995 Emil MacA["]u and his family decided to leave
Victoria permanently and moved to Bucharest where they have no home
or means to earn a livelihood.
Amnesty International's Recommendations
Amnesty International calls on the Romanian Government to
comply with the following recommendations, demonstrating
unambiguously its commitment to implementing Romania's obligations
under human rights treaties and other international human rights
instruments as well as its commitments on admission to the Council
Recommendations regarding legislative and judicial reforms
Amnesty International urges the Romanian Government:
- to ensure that the Penal Code does not allow for
imprisonment of persons who have exercised their right to
freedom of expression without resorting to or advocating the
use of violence*77 or solely for engaging in consensual
homosexual acts between adults in private.*78 To release
immediately and unconditionally prisoners of conscience and to
suspend prosecutions under laws which Romania is committed to
- to amend Article 19 of the Law on the Organization of the
Judiciary ensuring that the courts can effectively exercise
- to amend the Penal Procedure Code ensuring that police
officers are subject to civilian courts of justice and not to
- to amend the code of Penal Procedure allowing a judicial
review of the prosecutor's decisions following an
- to amend the Law Number 61/91 on Sanctions for Violations of
Norms of Social Coexistence and Public Peace and Order, to
eliminate possibilities for arbitrary prosecutions and
detention and to revise the appeals procedure ensuring that
the appeal is an effective remedy, consistent with
- to adopt regulations regarding rights of persons in pre-
trial detention which would be in conformity with their right
to the presumption of innocence.
- to adopt regulations which would establish police complaint
boards at county (judeş) level. These boards should consist of
people of acknowledged independence and probity, from a
representative cross section of the community, who are not
members of the police force. They should be afforded all
necessary power to monitor police activities and conduct
investigations into complaints against police officers, in
accordance with international minimum standards for
commissions of inquiry, including cases where complaints have
been filed with the competent prosecutor. The boards should at
a minimum be given the power to: decide whether a case should
be concluded or if an apology should be issued; recommend to
appropriate authorities that adequate compensation be paid to
the victim; and recommend whether criminal or disciplinary
proceedings should be brought against the perpetrator.
Recommendations regarding torture and other ill-treatment of
Amnesty International urges the Romanian Government:
- to establish an independent commission, empowered to
conduct a full and impartial inquiry into all factors which
facilitate torture and ill-treatment of detainees by law
enforcement officers and to recommend preventive measures.
Members of the commission should be chosen on the basis of
their known impartiality, independence and competence. As soon
as possible after the conclusion of its work the commission
should issue a full public report on its methods, findings,
conclusions and recommendations. The Romanian Government's
response should also be made public. The commission should
reconvene within a reasonable period to review steps taken by
the authorities to implement measures aimed at eradicating
torture and ill-treatment.
- to investigate promptly, impartially and thoroughly all
allegations of police ill-treatment and to make public the
findings of such investigations as soon as the reports are
completed. These reports should thoroughly describe all the
collected evidence and its assessment by the prosecuting
authorities. All reports of forensic experts, which were made
in the course of the investigation, should also be available
to public scrutiny.
- to bring to justice those responsible.
- to ensure that the prosecutors exercise their legal
competence to initiate investigations ex officio of all
credible reports of torture or ill-treatment or whenever a
person brought before them alleges torture or ill-treatment.
- to ensure that the prosecutors exercise control of police
officers who are investigating reports or allegations of ill-
treatment committed by other police officers. If the
investigation establishes that the allegations of the
complainant are credible it should be left to a court to
assess the veracity of conflicting or contradictory testimony.
- to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected
from all forms of ill-treatment and intimidation as a
consequence of his or her complaint or any evidence given.
- to ensure that the court conducts a thorough investigation
of all allegations of ill-treatment and that it does not admit
statements made as the result of such alleged ill-treatment
unless the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that
the statement was made voluntarily.
- to compensate victims of torture and other ill-treatment or
- to organize effective training programs for all police
officers aiming to ensure that they are given a thorough
understanding of national and international human rights
standards. These particularly include the following United
- The Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms
by Law Enforcement Officials, and
- The Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and
the Guidelines for the effective implementation of the
Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.
Recommendations regarding the effective protection of Roma from
Amnesty International calls on the Romanian Government:
- to establish a public commission of inquiry which satisfies
international standards for such commissions to investigate
all incidents in which law enforcement officials have failed
adequately to protect Roma lives and property in Romania since
1990. Members of the commission should be chosen on the basis
of their known impartiality, independence and competence. Such
a commission should carry out its work in close consultation
with representatives of the Roma community. As soon as
possible after the conclusion of its work this inquiry should
issue a full public report on its methods, findings,
conclusions and recommendations. Appropriate measures,
including bringing those responsible to justice and
compensating victims or their families should be initiated.
- to initiate a review of the laws and other rules governing
the conduct of and procedures employed by law enforcement
officials in responding to and protecting against racist
violence. The government should make public specific measures
that it intends to implement following such a review.
Recommendations to the Council of Europe and the Organization for
Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
Amnesty International urges the Council of Europe - particularly the
Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers - to ensure
that Romania implements the reforms recommended by the Parliamentary
Assembly to bring Romanian law and practice into line with the ECHR.
In particular, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights and
the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly should
ensure rigorous and continuing scrutiny of the human rights
situation in Romania with clear recommendations concerning the
restrictions on freedom of expression and the penalization of
homosexual acts. It is especially the duty of the Committee of
Ministers collectively to take whatever action is needed to ensure
The Council of Europe's program of cooperation and assistance
to Romania is a vital method of building strong institutions and
respect for the highest human rights standards. It would be
particularly important to continue or initiate programs for
legislators, members of the judiciary, particularly those involved
in the investigation of complaints of torture or other ill-
treatment, and members of the police force. However, such a program
is not a substitute for regular and rigorous scrutiny of a country's
record, particularly if there are still outstanding human rights
concerns at the time of admission into the Council of Europe.
The Council of Europe should continue to study problems faced
by the Roma in Romania. Such efforts should particularly take into
consideration proposals made by the participants of the Human
Dimension Seminar on "Roma in the CSCE Region" organized in Warsaw
in September 1994.
The OSCE participating states have built up a considerable
body of commitments relating to Roma. Other human dimension
commitments, such as guarantees of the right to freedom of
expression or the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment by
law enforcement officials, apply equally to non-Roma and Roma in the
OSCE region. The institutions of the OSCE now have an obligation to
ensure that these commitments are implemented by the Romanian
The 1994 Budapest Review Conference of the OSCE decided that
human dimension issues will be regularly dealt with by the OSCE
Permanent Council (which meets at least weekly in Vienna). The
violations of human dimension commitments by the Romanian Government
should be examined in the course of these discussions with the aim
of urging the Romanian Government to take practical measures to
change law and parctice which are in contradicition with the
international and European human rights standards.
The Warsaw-based Office for Democratic Institutions and Human
Rights (ODIHR) has been directed by the Budapest Review Conference
to act as a clearing-house for the exchange of information on Roma
issues, including information on the implementation of commitments
pertaining to Roma.*79 In playing its role the ODIHR should ensure
that the administration of justice in cases of anti-Roma violence in
Romania is one focus of the information stored and circulated. This
information should be available to the Human Dimenstion
Implementation Meeting which meets in October 1995 in Warsaw.
To the extent to which the ODIHR carries out training and
assistance programs in Romania it should include programs relaing to
the functioning of the judiciary and the establishment of police
complaint boards, as well as the setting up of effective procedures
for law enforcement officials in responding to and protecting
against anti-Roma violence.
* Articles 11 and 20 of the Constitution of Romania.
* Ratified by Romania in 1974.
* Parliamentary Assembly's Opinion number 178 (1993).
*Parliamentary Assembly Order 488 (1993).
* ECHR Article 25.
* ECHR Article 46.
* The Convention came into effect on 1 February 1995.
* The situation is aggravated by the authorities' disregard of
the legal requirements set in this law. On 14 July 1993, two weeks
after the law came into force, the Minister of Justice relieved
Corneliu Turianu of his duties as president of the Bucharest Court
without instituting formal disciplinary proceedings.
* See Romania: Criminal Law reform on the wrong track (AI
Index: EUR 39/01/94), published by Amnesty International in March
* Article 238, paragraph 1, of the Penal Code.
* Law 61/91.
* Separate investigations of alleged human rights violations
by the police may be conducted by the police themselves, although by
separate units. Sometimes the same police officers may be involved
in both investigations.
* Article 2 of the ICCPR.
* Article 5 (b) of the International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
*Serviciul Romn de Informaşii.
* Raport referitor la ndeplinirea atribuşiilor ce revin,
potrivit legii, Serviciul Romn de Informaşii, pentru realizarea
siguranşei naşionale R nr. 18/15.10.1994.
* Point (10) of the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the
Conference on the Human Dimension of the Conference on Security and
Co-operation in Europe (CSCE, now the OSCE) adopted on 29 June 1990.
* Article 160 of the Romanian Penal Code which is referred to
in Article 238, paragraph 1.
* Article 238, Paragraph 1 of the Penal Code.
* Dolj prosecutor's Decision number 116/p/1994 of 10 January
* The Romanian Orthodox Church has publicly opposed the
abolition of Article 200, paragraph 1.
* Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly 1994 Session
(Fourth Part) Twenty-fifth Sitting [AS (1994) CAR 25].
* Romanian Constitutional Court Decision number 81 of 15 July
* Monitorul Oficial number 14 of 25 January 1995.
* Romania: "Public Scandal" Ruling Threatens Rights of
Homosexuals (AI Index: EUR 39/WU 02/94), 20 July 1994.
* Information compiled by the Directorate for Penitentiaries
in the Ministry of Justice.
* Articles 41 and 42 refer to continuous offences.
* Decision number 1569/1993.
* Interviewed in prison May 1994, they claimed to have taken
the watch and the dentures as a practical joke.
* See The case of Valentin-Walter Stoica, AI Index: EUR
39/07/94, 13 December 1994.
* Update to the case of Valentin-Walter Stoica, AI Index: EUR
39/02/95, 16 February 1995.
* Penal Sentence number 957/1993 of 26 April 1993.
* This procedure is contained in Articles 39, 34 and 35 of the
Penal Code. Articles 34 and 35 prescribe the principal penalty,
additional penalties and security measures in case of concurrent
* Penalty number 1348/1993, issued by the Alba Iulia court and
dated 16 December 1993 (eight months after the passing of the
* See Romania: continuing violations of human rights (AI
Index: EUR 39/07/93), May 1993.
* This provision concerns homosexual rape, homosexual
relations with minors or other persons "who can not defend
themselves or express their consent".
* The Law on the Organization of Judiciary retains military
prosecutors and courts as a parallel judicial system.
* There is no legally binding mechanism where the prosecutor
has to apply to the lawyer's association or another independent
body. Many lawyers refuse to handle such cases. Local authorities
delay the payment of fees, which in inflationary conditions makes
for meagre remuneration.
* See "The case of Viorel Baciu" Romania: continuing
violations of human rights (AI Index: EUR 39/07/93), May 1993.
* The Romanian Government proposed to amend the Penal
Procedure Code allowing a non-indictment decision to be appealed in
the court. However, this proposal was rejected in February or March
1995 by the Juridical Commission of the Romanian Senate.
* Article 275 of the Penal Procedure Code.
* Article 2 (3) (a) of ICCPR.
* Article 14 (1) of the Convention against Torture which
requires each State Party to "ensure in its legal system that the
victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable
right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as
full rehabilitation as possible".
* Copies are not made available even to members of the family
of the deceased.
* Article 12 of the Convention against Torture.
* Principle 17.
* Monitorul Oficial of 27 September 1991.
* See the case of Maria Moldovan on page 31 and the case of
Emil and Virgil MacA["]u on page 36 of this report.
* Aspecte teoretice Ci practice ale relaşiei polişie -
persoane fizice, raport 1993-1994, Bucharest, January 1994. This
study also thoroughly examines the Police Law (Law 26/1994) which in
certain situation allows for unconstitutional extension of
deprivation of liberty without a prosecutor's warrant.
* Article 23, point 8, of the Constitution of Romania.
* He was also unable to provide any statistics concerning
complaints about police abuses and administrative sanctions against
* The presumption is that these articles are still in force.
Article 150 of the Romanian Constitution set a term of 12 months for
the Legislative Council to examine the conformity of the legislation
with the new constitution and to make appropriate recommendations.
* Identities of all law enforcement officials designated with
letters in this report are known to Amnesty International and to the
* Law 61/91.
* Article 6
* Article 2
* Law 61/1991.
* Andrei Zanopol was tortured by police in Galaşi in June
1993. See Romania: update to Amnesty International's concerns (AI
Index: EUR 39/13/93, September 1993).
* Ibid. for Sorin şişei's trial in violation of his right to
freedom of expression.
* Although the latest census sets the Roma community in
Romania at around 450,000 some estimates consider the actual
number is closer to 2,000,000.
*An investigation into the incident in Bolentin Deal begun in
1991 is still pending. The authorities have made little effort to
gather evidence, including testimonies from victims and witnesses.
By March 1994, according to the prosecutor then assigned to the
case, only two victims had been interviewed.
Eight adults and three juveniles were charged in October 1993
for their involvement in the violence in Ogrezeni but the trial is
still continuing. In June 1993 three people from Bolentin Vale,
convicted of firearms offences, destruction of property and theft,
were given suspended sentences of six months' to one year's
imprisonment. Twenty-five people were charged for their
participation in the violence in GA["]iseni and are now on trial.
*"Human rights Developments in Romania", 1994 Report of
APADOR-CH, the Romanian Helsinki Committee.
*Amnesty International Report 1991.
*Romania - Lynch Law: Violence against Roma in Romania, Human
rights Watch/Helsinki Vol. 6, No. 17 published in November 1994.
*Romania: Continuing violations of human rights (AI Index: EUR
39/07/93), May 1993
* ICCPR Article 2 (1).
* Article 2 (1) of the ICCPR.
* The total number of the destroyed Roma homes is said to be even
greater in some reports.
* This is not the same Maria Moldovan who was allegedly ill-treated
by a police officer on 24 September 1993, as described on p. 29.
* Law 61/91.
* Number N/619947.
* Article 2 - the committing of any of the following constitutes a contravention, if
they are not committed under such conditions that, according to penal law they constitute
a) making obscene gestures or engaging in obscene actions or acts in public, uttering
insults or offensive or vulgar expressions, threatening acts of violence against individuals
or their property, actions which could disturb public peace and order or arouse the
indignation of citizens or damage their dignity and honour or cause damage to public
ş) the refusal of a person to provide information establishing his identity, to
legitimize it with an identification document, or to appear at police headquarters at the
request of or on the basis of a justified invitation from the organs of penal prosecution or
the organs for the maintenance of public order which are doing their job.
* "Raport asupra evenimentelor din satul Bcu", APADOR-CH, January 1995.
* Penal Code, Chapter IV - Offences which threaten relations concerning common social
* Article 238 - offences against the authorities, and Article 239 - "outrage", of the
Penal Code and the proposed amendments to its Article 168 - dissemination of false news,
Article 236 - offences against insignia, Article 236*1 - defamation of the state or nation,
as well as Articles 238 and Article 239 which may impose even greater restrictions on the
right to freedom of expression than those already in force.
* Article 200, paragraphs 1 and 4 of the Penal Code as well as the proposed amendment
to Article 200, paragraph 1.
CSCE Budapest Document 1994, Paragraph VIII. 23.