Romania sets up special department to investigate 1,300 deaths during 1989 anti-communist revolution

A soldier takes up a firing position against "Securitate" secret police which were shooting from rooftops near the Republic Square during the Rumanian revolution. Dec. 1989. Bucharest.

Thirty years after its bloody anti-communist uprising, Romania is renewing efforts to find out who was responsible for the deaths of as many as 1,300 people, many of who were killed after former Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu was ousted from power.

The government institute tasked with investigating crimes committed by the communist regime on Wednesday announced the establishment of a new department to investigate “crimes and abuses” committed during the bloody 1989 revolt where more than 3,000 people were injured as military and intelligence officers and others opened fire, killing unarmed citizens as well as rival forces.

The Institute for Investigating the Crimes of Communism said it would transfer the archives and other relevant documents from the Institute of the Romanian Revolution which Prime Minister Ludovic Orban abruptly closed down last month.

The institute was controversially run by former President Ion Iliescu who seized power during the uprising. He is now on trial with former deputy Prime Minister Gelu Voican Voiciulescu for causing hundreds of deaths in the days after Ceausescu fled.

Prior to the closure, the respected Group for Social Dialogue called the institute “an affront to the memory” of the revolution.

In its statement Wednesday, the institute said experts would collect data, documents, and testimony and carry out “rigorous research” to determine what happened during the December uprising.

“By setting up this department, IICCMER is consolidating its mission to preserve the memory of the victims of the communist regime in Romania and identifying those responsible for the crimes committed from 1945-1989,” the statement said.


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