Hădăreni case indictment

15 May 1998

Who is on trial here? The indictment in the most widely publicised case of violence against Roma in Romania in the past decade repeatedly raises this question. Although eleven persons are charged with crimes arising from the murder of three Romani men and the burning of numerous Romani houses in September 1993, the document reads in parts like an indictment of the Roma themselves. Thus, the first passages are laden with hackneyed stereotypes and crude caricatures that amount, in effect, to an attempt to blame the victims for their own suffering. “[T]he Gypsies” are accused of “reject[ing] [...] those moral values commonly accepted by the community”, “displaying aggressive behaviour”, “intentionally denying the norms imposed by society”, “persisting in illegal ‘activities’”, “provok[ing] quarrels and fights”, and engaging in “degrading” conduct. It is a wonder, the indictment seems to suggest, that they were not killed before.

Viewed from the perspective of a historian of post-Communist Europe, the Hǎdǎreni indictment is an important artifact, for it tells as much about the culture as a whole as it does about the crimes at issue. Sad to say, when it comes to punishing racially-motivated violence against Roma, Hǎdǎreni is about as good as it gets. Most cases of similar abuse never result in indictment. Not only in Romania, but all over Central and Eastern Europe in particular, Romani complaints of verbal and physical misconduct go unattended, uninvestigated, and unremedied. Hǎdǎreni very nearly had the same fate.

Thus, news of the racial outburst spread far and wide shortly after it occurred, not only in Romania, but around the world. Nonetheless, within months of the murders, the chief prosecutor in Mureş County, where Hǎdǎreni is located, complained publicly that there was enough evidence to indict more than a dozen persons, but that local political leaders were making it impossible for him to bring charges. A year later, in 1995, a career prosecutor in the office which conducted the Hǎdǎreni investigation complained that he was being hamstrung: “For me, it’s a simple case. I have the evidence” to convict at least eleven persons for their involvement in the attacks on Roma in Hǎdǎreni but “political factors have prevented the case from going forward.” This prosecutor cited, in particular, the power of the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) in Mureş County, and the hostility to Roma expressed by many PUNR officials. He said that this antagonism toward an indictment in the case reached to the very top of the Romanian government.

So what changed? Why in 1997 were the first defendants finally ordered detained, and an indictment at long last sent to the court? No new law had been passed. No new evidence had been found. No final break-through in the investigation had taken place. Rather, it was the coming to power of a new government (elected in the autumn of 1996), with the political will to respond to international pressure, which finally made possible the bringing of formal charges.

That this new political will has limits - only some of the responsible parties have been indicted, the government has done little to prevent intimidation of witnesses, and many other investigations into racially-motivated violence remain moribund - should come as no surprise. That is the way it is in Europe in the late 1990s. Even the small “victories” come tarnished by the very racial hostility they are designed to overcome.

The Public Ministry, Court of Appeal – Tîrgu-Mureş
Prosecutor Office, Case Nr.1/P/1993, August 12, 1997


Liviu Moica, prosecutor, Court of Appeal, Tîrgu-Mureş

Considering the outcome of the criminal investigation in the above-mentioned case, regarding the following:

  • Accused: Bucur Pavel, Bucur Petru, Gall Nicolae, Bucur Vasile Dorel, Precup Severius Ioan, Bucur Vasile, Bucur Nicolae, Bucur Iuliu
  • Suspects: Vescan Olimpiu, Budean Vasile, Furdui Simion

We sustain the following:

Hǎdǎreni belongs to the Cheţani district, located in the south-western part of Mureş, on the road from Tîrgu-Mureş to Cluj, bordered by the Aries river. The village has 882 inhabitants: 614 Romanians, 145 Hungarians and 123 Roma- the percentage of these being 14%. Their way of life, especially of those who came into the village after December 1989, generated serious tensions with the majority. Generally speaking, due to their social condition and the rejection of those moral values commonly accepted by the community, the Gypsies excluded themselves from social life, displaying aggressive behaviour, and intentionally denying the norms imposed by society.

Most of them were unemployed, surviving by finding occasional work, and by robberies, thefts and other illegal activities. The previous form of property (state property) being no longer supported by Romanian law, the Gypsies have received plots of land but they have not worked them, persisting in illegal “activities”, committed in groups and with violence, the target of their actions, this time, being private property. These are the facts that caused even further revolt and rejection by the majority.

Groups of Gypsies (ţigani) have been the source of numerous conflicts with the young people from the village, as they show aggressive behaviour, using force in order to acquire money and goods. Their conduct became in time even degrading, manifesting itself in insults and fights. Such incidents have occurred in the private bar owned by Gall Nicolae, where they have provoked quarrels and fights.

Generally speaking, some of these Gypsies conducted themselves like “masters”, defying any social norms. The attempts of older persons with moral authority to convince them to change their behaviour failed, and such persons were threatened or intimidated.

The records of criminal investigation offices and of the instances in Mureş prove that from 1991 to 1993, seven criminal cases were registered, most of them having as their object violence, from simple attacks to murder. In reality, the number of offences is even larger. Being scared due to threats, the victims either did not complain, withdrew their complaints, or reconciled with their aggressors. This is especially true because some of the Roma had criminal records for violent offences already.

Besides the perception of the community that previous conflicts had not been settled in the way they should have been, the outcomes being either dissatisfying or unsuitable, the precedents created generated an increase in the number of vindictive actions, both of individual and collective justice.

This is the background to the tragic events of September 20, 1993, in Hǎdǎreni. The violence against Roma was selective- those normally integrated into social life were not involved. With all these Roma’s uncivilised behaviour and their acts of violence, conflicts of degenerated enmity broke out. The most striking example is the case of the accused Bucur Pavel whose arm had been broken before, but other cases are also available.

The declaration of the witness Moldovan Gheorghe is significant, as he has been living in the village for a very long time and spent his childhood with the parents of the Gypsies involved in the conflict, but “Then it was better. We got along well together. Now is not like that anymore. We cannot agree with them. There is no law for them.” That is why during the criminal investigation a great number of the witnesses heard justified the events with the claim that, “We couldn’t get along anymore, the glass was filled up.”

On September 20, 1993, at 19:00 o’clock in the centre of the village, at the bus station near the House of Culture, a conflict took place between Cheţan Gligor senior and the brothers Lǎcǎtuş Rapa Lupian (L.R.L.) called “Sibi” and Lǎcǎtus Aurel Pardaillan (L.A.P.) called “Parda”. They were together with their brother-in-law Zoltán Mircea (Z.M.), and Lǎcǎtus Petru, known as “Dagala”, their brother, and with Moldovan Lusca, also known as “Iliuta”, and they were looking for a ride to the town of Luduş.

Cheţan Gligor senior appeared, on the opposite pavement, with a cow. Without any reason, the brothers L.R.L. and L.A.P. insulted him badly, even though Cheţan Gligor senior was older than they were. Indignant at their insults, Cheţan Gligor tied the cow to a pillar, intending to go to the brothers to upbraid them for their rudeness. However, L.A.P. slapped him and dragged him to the bus station. Here, also without motive, the two brothers repeatedly slapped and beat Cheţan Gligor until he fell to the ground.

Seeing what was happening at the bus station, many people on their way to the dairy tried to help Cheţan Gligor senior. At the same time, hearing the shouts, his sons came: Cheţan Gligor junior, Cheţan Crǎciun, and Cheţan Mircea.

The witness Cheţan Gligor junior states that at the moment when he arrived at the bus station, his father was on the ground, being attacked. L.R.L., seeing him approach, took out a knife from the inner pocket of his coat and threatened him, implying that if he dared to interfere in the fight, he would cut him. He then actually tried to cut Chetan Gligor, but succeeded only in cutting his pullover. When Cheţan Crǎciun came, despite the fact that he was unarmed, the Lǎcǎtuş brothers and their brother in law, Z.M., turned against him. With his knife, the one with which he had previously cut Cheţan Gligor jr., L.R.L. stabbed Cheţan Crǎciun in the left side of his chest. Immediately, L.R.L., followed by his brother and Z.M., ran away. Crossing the street, they then entered the yard of witness Moldovan Lucreţia, also known as “Beta”. They were followed by the Cheţan brothers. When Cheţan Crǎciun arrived at Cimitirului street, he fell and was unable to get up.

Realising that he was seriously injured, his brothers tried to transport him to the town of Luduş with a car, finally finding the accused Gall Nicolae to take him there.

During this time, the Lǎcǎtuş brothers and Z.M. took refuge in Moldovan Lucreţia’s yard. They had broken down the door because there was nobody at home and barricaded themselves inside, saying that if anybody dared to come in, they would die, and that, “I have already killed one, I will kill another two.”

Concerning L.R.L., also known as “Sibi”, it should be noted that he was the most violent of all, which is why he was never left alone by his family. He even said once, in Gall’s bar, that he intended to kill all the Romanians of the village if they ever did anything against him. His brother L.A.P. also had the same violent character. He had been sentenced to five years imprisonment under criminal sentence number 149 from May 5, 1992. Mureş first instance court allowed, at his request, an interruption of the punishment for three months, until September 3, 1993, which was why he was in Hǎdǎreni that evening.

After the victim Cheţan Crǎciun was brought to Luduş, it was ascertained that he was dead. The medico-legal report of the post-mortem examination of the twenty-five year old victim, and the medico-legal certificate, prove that his death was violent and was caused by internal and external haemorrhaging in the chest following a puncture wound of the left upper part of the chest which penetrated the thorax, wounding the lung, pericardium and the intra-pericardial pulmonary artery.

The thoracic lesion was caused by a sharp and pointed object, such as a knife, with a minimum width of 2.5 cm and a length of 6-7 cm. The channel of the wound is oblique and directed upwards. At the time of his death, the victim had no alcohol in his blood.

As it was evening, many villagers came out onto the street, mainly to bring milk to the dairy. Indignant at what had happened, considering the previous conduct of these Gypsies, the villagers gathered around the garden of Moldovan Lucreţia at the fences situated near the House of Culture, around the yard and the house.

After the arrival of policemen from the local police station, the villagers, becoming increasingly incited, entered the yard. Those inside continued to threaten to kill somebody else, if anyone came any closer, and refused to surrender themselves at the repeated summons of the policemen. This attitude incited the villagers even more.

In the midst of this scene, the car of the accused Gall Nicolae then returned from Luduş. He spread the news that Cheţan Crǎciun was dead. Hearing this, the crowd of 150-300 persons - according to the approximations of witnesses - indignant at what had happened and was continuing to happen because of the aggressors’ refusal to surrender to the authorities, became more and more frustrated and angry.

Some of those present suggested that they set fire to the aggressors, because they deserved this. Meanwhile, they were throwing various objects such as sticks and stones and other objects into the house from the yard, in order to convince those inside to come outside and surrender. Among those who were inciting the mob was the accused Gall. In these moments, as stated by the witnesses Raţiu Vasilica Diana and Şuşcǎ Alexandru, the accused Bucur Vasile Dorel and Precup Severius Ioan kindled a reed roll which they threw into the house through the window. The burning mat fell on a bed, which instantly caught fire. The fire spread rapidly. When the fire inside worsened, the first one to escape through the window was L.R.L. He was caught by Moga Ioan, the chief of the police, who tried to get him out of the mob and to take him into the yard of a neighbour Rosca Ioan. Rosca Ioan refused to allow the policeman to enter the yard, however, saying that he had nothing to do with the criminals. The policeman then tried to get him out of the crowd in the street. Officer Moga stated in his declaration, that beside him were the accused Bucur Pavel, armed with a club, and Bucur Petre. The crowd began to hit L.R.L., and everybody was trying to come closer to kick or hit him. At a certain moment the mob pulled L.R.L. and kicked him several times, so that he fell near a spring in the street. Everybody around fell upon him. Approximately twenty persons kicked him, and hit him with clubs, bludgeons, and stakes. At the same time as L.R.L., his brother L.A.P. came out of the house and tried to run towards the street. He was followed and caught by the accused B.V.D. and he was then surrounded by the crowd and hit, just like his brother. The objects used are considered as material evidence in the case.

After they were wounded with various objects, and kicked for a long time, they had many injuries all over their bodies. Even though they were transported by the emergency service to hospital, because of the gravity of the wounds, they died the same evening. Z.M., who stayed in the house, was found the next day completely burnt.

The medico-legal report of the post mortem examination of the victim L.A.P., 21 years old, shows that his death was violent and was caused by a politraumatism with multiple wounds, fractures, hematomae on the head and body, the fracture of both arms, and the fracture of his back. All of these lesions caused the death of the victim. 89 wounds were found on his body, which could have been caused by direct blows from hard objects, kicks, punches, clubs, or stakes. The blows came from all directions.

The medico-legal report of the post-mortem examination of the victim L.R.L., 22 years old, and the medico-legal certificate show that his death was violent and was caused by traumatic and haemorrhagic shock, caused by a politraumatism with surface wounds on almost 70% of his body.

The medico-legal report of the post mortem examination and the medico-legal certificate regarding victim Z.M. show that his death was violent and was caused by a general incapacity to breathe as a result of the fire. He was 100% burnt. No other traumatic lesions were found.

After this, also in a group, the villagers decided to set fire to the Gypsies’ houses. This continued almost the whole night between September 20 and September 21. Thirteen houses and their annexes were burnt entirely, and five other Romani houses were damaged. All those who were affected by these actions became civil parties in the case (claiming damages related to the degree of loss of property sustained).

We mention that after the events almost all the burnt houses were rebuilt with money coming from the Government through RAGCL Mureş [The Autonomous Office of Locative and Communal Household Economy].

During the criminal investigation of the case, because of local influences but also because of solidarity, all of the villagers, except some Roma, and even some of the Roma, consistently alleged even after two or three hearings at different moments, that they did not know anything about the case and that they had not seen anything. This was true despite the fact that all of those heard had been at the centre of the events and had seen and knew exactly what happened there. For example, the witness Gabudean Kalman, even though admitting that he stood near another witness, Dambean Liviu Cristian, and described exactly what happened while L.A.P. was hit, repeatedly alleges that he does not know anything concrete about the case.

The witness Cocan Iacob, although at the scene and remembering what happened, alleges that he could not recognise any of the perpetrators. Similar declarations were made by witnesses Moldovan Maria, Laslo Valentin Dumitrache, Suciu Gheorghe, Gambutan Iustin, Cocan Emil, and many others.

The witness Cocan Virgil states that he will not tell the truth because he is afraid, as he has been threatened with death by other villagers: these implied that they would kill him or set fire to his house. He stated that he would tell the truth only if summoned by the court. Because of this state of affairs, only after a great amount of trouble during the criminal investigation was it possible to gather direct and credible evidence regarding the culpability of the primary suspects.

Considering all of the evidence submitted in this case concerning the arson attack on Moldovan Lucreţia’s house and the criminal offence of the murder of the victims L.R.L., L.A.P., and Z.M., we conclude that there is serious evidence proving the guilt of the accused: Bucur Pavel, Bucur Petru, Gall Nicolae, Bucur Vasile Dorel and Precup Severiu Ioan.

Concerning the accused mentioned above, we note the following:

The accused Bucur Petre and Bucur Pavel are brothers. Bucur Pavel lives in Hǎdǎreni and Bucur Petre in Alba Iulia, but during the events he was in Hǎdǎreni staying at his brother’s house.

In his first declarations, the accused Bucur Pavel alleged that, being psychologically unfit, he does not remember anything. He also does not recognise the facts with which he is charged. He admits only the fact that, as he had been previously attacked by a Gypsy man, he hated all Gypsies. He maintained this and made similar declarations until June 26, 1997, when he clearly explained the circumstances and the events. He also alleges that neither he, nor his brother have done anything wrong, even though they had been together the whole time, his brother taking care of him.

The accused Bucur Petre does not recognise the facts with which he is charged either. He proved himself to be the most insincere and difficult witness during the criminal investigation.

Even if the accused persons do not admit the facts with which they are charged, their participation as leading perpetrators is established on the basis of declarations by the witnesses Dambeanu Liviu Cristian, Dambeanu Florin, Gǎbudean Kalman, Raţiu (Rostas) Paulina, Moldovan Lucreţia, Şuşcǎ Alexandru, Moga Ioan, Barcea Elena Dorina, Lǎcǎtuş Monica Simona, Cheţan Ovidiu, Kovacs Stefan, Lǎcǎtuş Florina, Moldovan Vienuţ, Turdean Cristina, Lǎcǎtuş Maria, and Cocan Emil.

From their statements, we conclude that:

The witness Dambean Liviu Cristian and Dambean Florin stated several times at different moments and in the presence of one of their parents (they are minors) that both of the accused, Bucur Pavel and Bucur Petre, repeatedly attacked the victims L.A.P. and L.R.L. The witness Gabudean Kalman confirms the fact that they were there when the two victims were beaten.

The same witnesses make clear the fact that during the night the two accused were among the group of villagers who set fire to the Gypsies’ houses:

  • The witness Moldovan Lucreţia, interviewed repeatedly, states that amongthose who beat the victims L.R.L. and L.A.P., she positively recognised Bucur Pavel and his brother;
  • The witness Lǎcǎtuş Maria testifies that among those who participatedand “helped” at the fire were the two accused;
  • The witness Chetan Oliviu states that both of the accused men were in Cimitirului street the whole time and that he saw them near the victim,when he was on the ground. This statement confirms the allegations of Dambeanu Liviu Cristian and Dambeanu Florin;
  • The accused Bucur Vasile Dorel states that when the victim L.R.L. hadfallen, many people gathered and beat him. He states that Bucur Peter, Furdui Simeon, and others were near the victim;
  • The witness Lǎcǎtuş Maria states that both of the accused took an activepart in the arson and destruction during the night. The accused Bucur Vasile provides similar information, as do almost all of the civil parties (those who suffered prejudice);
  • The witness Barcea Elena Dorina states that she clearly saw the two victims being beaten with clubs in the street. Taking pity on the victims, she urged those who were kicking L.A.P. to leave him alone. Bucur Pavel interfered, however, and told her to shut up, otherwise she might suffer “the same kind of treatment”. During the same evening, she told her neighbours Lǎcǎtuş Florina and Lǎcǎtuş Didina what she had seen, meaning that the accused had attacked the victims.

The statements of the witnesses Dambean Liviu Cristian and Lǎcǎtuş Maria were maintained by both even after being confronted by the accused Bucur Petre. Witness Dambean Liviu Cristian said that he recognised the accused Bucur Petre as being the brother of Bucur Pavel and that he had hit both victims. He also states that at that time Bucur Petre had a moustache.

The witness Lǎcǎtuş Maria stated, upon confrontation with the accused Bucur Petre, that he had been among the group of men who came to her house in order to set fire to it. She recognised everyone in the mob by their voices, including her neighbour, schoolteacher Cocan Silvia.

Concerning the accused Bucur Petre: during the criminal investigation he seriously threatened the main witnesses heard in the case, trying to convince them to change their statements. The witness Dambean Liviu, the father of the two witnesses Dambeanu Liviu Cristian and Dambeanu Florin describes that after the events the accused came to his house and threatened them, saying that if he had to go to jail because of Mr Dambeanu’s children, they would die. The accused admits that in July 1994, after the hearing at the district attorney’s office, he went to Dambean Liviu’s house, but he alleges that he did not threaten them, but merely asked about them.

The witness Moldovan Lucreţia states that two or three days after the event, she met Bucur Petre on the street and he threatened her, saying that if she did not move to another village, he would kill her.

In their defence, Bucur Petre asked to question witnesses Cheţan Petru, also known as “Dulau” and Cheţan Ioan, called “Goanga”, but their statements do not change the state of facts, because it was already decided that Bucur Pavel and Bucur Petre were among the first persons in Moldovan Lucreţia’s yard and that they were already there when the policemen came. They consistently stated that Bucur Petre was with Bucur Pavel when he tried to hit Şuşcǎ Alexandru with a truncheon.

From the medico-legal report of psychiatric evaluation it emerges that Bucur Pavel suffered from secondary epilepsy with periodical psychological dysfunction. It was recommended to take the necessary medical steps against him, consisting of measures of safety according to Article 114 of the Criminal Code.

The medico-legal report of psychological examination of Bucur Petre shows that he does not suffer from any mental disability that might jeopardise his capacity to understand the content and consequences of his actions. He is aware of the facts with which he is charged.

Although the accused Gall Nicolae played an important role in the event, he did not admit participation. Well known in the village as the owner of the bar located near the House of Culture, a bar which was frequented not only by Gypsies but also by Romanians, he was one of the most important persons, and perhaps the main one, obstructing the investigation by putting the witnesses under pressure. During the criminal investigation, his defence basically focused on the fact that he took the victim Cheţan Crǎciun to the hospital and that when he came back to Hǎdǎreni, the victims L.A.P. and L.R.L. had already been taken away by the emergency service. He also constantly asked that the witnesses Cheţan Gligor Senior, Cheţan Mircea, Cheţan Gligor Jr, Cheţan Nicolae, Cheţan Dǎnuţa, all members of the victim’s family, be heard in his defence, as well as the driver Onit Ioan and other persons, such as the accused Bucur Nicolae, or policemen from Luduş.

Concerning the brothers Cheţan Mircea and Cheţan Nicolae, it is stated that, being heard on March 15, 1994, they said that they did not want to, and would not, testify in the case. Despite this, when heard again on June 7, 1997, Cheţan Mircea alleged that he came from Luduş only after some houses were already burning in the centre of the village.

It is important to say that these witnesses and the other members of the Cheţan family are interesting in this case because they played an active part in the events, and because during the criminal investigation it was established that they had not told the truth.

The allegation of the witness Cheţan Mircea is contradicted by the statement of the witness Oniţ Ioan, who clearly stated that they had stayed in Luduş for only 40-45 minutes, after which they returned to Hǎdǎreni. In Hǎdǎreni, according to Oniţ Ioan, they parked the car near the bar of Nicolae Gall, and they all got out and only he stayed in the car. While he was in the car near the bar, the house of Moldovan Lucreţia began to burn. He could not be more specific as to when and how the house was set on fire, because he had not been at the scene. The defence of the accused Nicolae Gall therefore appeared untenable. His direct involvement in the events is irrefutable considering the following evidence:

  • The witnesses Şuşcǎ Alexanru and Moga Ioan said that the car of theaccused returned from Luduş before the arson of the house owned byMoldovan Lucreţia;
  • The witnesses Moldovan Luşca, Lacatus Monica, Ratiu Paulina, Rostas Zica, Moldovan Vienuţ, Moldovan Lucreţia, Lǎcǎtuş Didina, and Lǎcǎtuş Florinastate that the accused, Nicolae Gall, incited the others to set fire to thehouse, shouting repeatedly “Let’s set fire to the house so that the Gypsies will burn like rats.” He threw inflammable objects into the house and then he beat the victim L.A.P. Some of these consider that had the accused Gall Nicolae not incited the crowd, nothing would have happened becausenobody in the crowd would have thought to start the fire;
  • The witnesses Cheţan Ovidiu and Cocan Emil also state that the villagersgathered around the fences, entered into the yard and started to behavemore aggressively only after Gall Nicolae came back from Luduş and spread the news of Cheţan’s death. They also claim that the accused was seennear the victim while on the ground unconscious;
  • The witnesses Moldovan Maria, Lǎcǎtuş Didina, Turdean Cristina, Dambean Liviu Cristian, and Dambean Florin state that the accused took an activepart during the night at the arson of the Gypsies’ houses;
  • This is confirmed by the civil parties Lǎcǎtuş Ghiolanca, Lǎcǎtuş Ferdinand, Moldovan Adrian called “Costica”, Rostas Valentina, Rostas Otilia, andRostas Octavian;
  • The accused Bucur Vasile Dorel and Bucur Pavel state that only after theaccused Gall Nicolae and Bucur Nicolae called “Haschia” came back from Luduş did the mob became more and more agitated, after which they set the house where the perpetrators were barricaded on fire.

Also at the demand for defence of the accused Gall Nicolae, he was confronted with the witnesses: Şuşcǎ Alexandru, Moga Ioan, Raţiu Paulina, Cocan Emil, Moldovan Maria, Turdean Cristina, and Mocan Susana, some of them more than once, and they have stood by their statements even in such conditions.

In this way, considering all evidence, we conclude that the defence of Gall Nicolae is not sustainable and cannot refute his guilt for the facts presented.

The medico-legal report of his psychiatric examination proves that the accused Gall Nicolae does not show any sign of psychological distress that might jeopardise his ability to comprehend the content and consequences of his actions.

The accused Bucur Vasile Dorel and Precup Severius Ioan have been more honest in the final part of the criminal investigation, acknowledging some of the facts with which they have been charged and recounting in a concrete and objective manner what they know about the case. The accused Bucur Vasile Dorel admits the fact that he followed L.A.P. when he ran away from Moldovan Lucreţia’s house, and dragged him until he fell down, so that the others had the opportunity to catch him and beat him with various objects.

The accused Precup Severius Ioan called “Titi”, recognised the fact that he took from Cimitiruliu street a club just like those considered material evidence in the case, then he went to L.A.P. (who was already on the ground) and hit him only once on his feet. The two accused do not acknowledge the fact that together they set alight and threw the roll which caused the fire. It is important to stress that statements of the accused recognising the facts of the case fit the statements of Raţiu Vasitica, Raţiu Florin, Şuşcǎ Alexandru, Dambeanu Liviu Cristian, Dambeanu Florin, Lǎcǎtuş Monica, Moldovan Lusca, Lǎcǎtuş Florina, Lǎcǎtuş Didina, and Turdean Cristina. These witnesses show that both of the accused set fire to the house of Moldovan Lucreţia, after which they beat L.A.P. and took part in the arson of the other houses during the night.

Regarding the accused Precup Severius Ioan, the statement of the witness Raţiu Vasilica Diana given just after the events in which she stated that he had beaten both victims Sibi and Parda with a wooden club of at least 50 centimetres is significant. Feeling sorry for them, she interfered and dragged the accused away from the victim because the latter seemed to be in great pain. During the same evening, the witness saw the accused Bucur Vasile Dorel and Budean Vasile showing the way to a group of young people who were shouting that they would set fire to all Gypsies’ houses. On this issue, the statements of the accused Bucur Pavel in which he stated that Furdui Simion threw burning tyres into Bodor’s house in the presence of the accused Bucur Petre, Bucur Vasile Dorel, Bucur Vasile called “Tulai”, and Bucur Nicolae called “Haschia” are relevant. The accused Bucur Petre states also that Bucur Vasile Dorel caught L.A.P. when he tried to run away and that because of this the crowd was able to beat him.

The accused Budean Vasile and Vescan Olimpiu also state that both Bucur Vasile Dorel and Precup Severius Ioan took part in the arson of the Gypsies’ houses. The accused Bucur Iuliu says that, speaking with the villagers afterwards, he found out that the person who threw the burning objects into Moldovan Lucreţia’s house was the accused Precup Severius Ioan.

The witnesses Raţiu Vasilica and Şuşcǎ Alexandru, Raţiu Florin maintained their statements even after confrontation with the accused Bucur Vasile Dorel and Precup Severius Ioan. It should be mentioned that in defence of the accused Bucur Vasile Dorel, the witnesses Nemes Ecaterina, Socaciu Ilie, Che Mircea, and Bucur Nicolae were heard in his defence. Their declarations are not relevant with respect to the existing evidence, however. The medico-legal report of psychiatric evaluation demonstrates that the accused Bucur Vasile Dorel does not have any kind of psychological problems which might jeopardise his capacity to critically appreciate the content and the consequences of his actions. He understands the facts with which he has been charged. The medico-legal report of psychiatric evaluation of the accused Precup Severius Ioan is similar.

Criminal action was initiated against Bucur Pavel, Bucur Petre, Gall Nicolae, Bucur Vasile Dorel, Bucur Vasile, Bucur Iuliu, and Bucur Nicolae in connection with the case on July 21, 1994, and at the same time, the measures of preventive imprisonment for the criminal offence of qualified and extremely grave murder and of qualified damaging of property were taken. By ordinance, on the same day, July 21, 1994, all of the accused were released from custody.

Criminal investigation against those accused continued, as well as against other persons connected with the events, such as Budean Vasile, Furdui Simion, Vescan Olimpiu, Achim Ioan, Achim Vucu Sorin, Şuteu Gheorghe, Bartuş Samuilǎ, Varro Ladislau, Suciu Gheorghe, Scridon Ilie, another six persons, and others, but from the incipient acts and from the study of the evidence, it was considered that there is conclusive proof only against the above-mentioned accused and the accused Budean Vasile, Vescan Olimpiu, and Furdui Simion. Among all of these it was decided that there was enough proof of qualified and extremely grave murder for only five of the accused to be charged, and that in the case of the others, it was considered only the offence of qualified destruction and disturbing the public order. Against the other suspects, there was not enough evidence, so criminal investigation against them ceased.

Regarding the accused Bucur Vasile, Bucur Nicolae, and Bucur Iuliu, and the suspects Vescan Olimpiu, Budea Vasile, and Furdui Simion, it is shown that: the accused Bucur Vasile, called “Tulai”, and the suspects Budean Vasile and Vescan Olimpiu admit that they were with the group which, during the night of September 20, 1993, set fire to and destroyed the Gypsies’ houses. Despite their statements, the fact that they have done these things clearly emerges from the declarations of the witnesses Dambean Liviu Cristian, Dambean Florin, Lǎcǎtuş Florina, Raţiu Vasilica, Moldovan Gabriela, Rostas Lucreţia, Turdean Cristina, and Raţiu Florin.

The statements of these witnesses will be taken into consideration, together with the statements of the civil parties and those of the other accused and suspects. For example, even though the accused Bucur Pavel states that he saw Bucur Vasile, Furdui Simeon, Bucur Vasile Dorel, and Bucur Petre at the fire at Bodor’s house, Furdui was the one who threw the burning tyres inside. This is sustained by Bucur Vasile. It is also shown that the accused Bucur Vasile incited those involved: Bucur Petre, Bucur Pavel, Bucur Vasile Dorel, and Bucur Vasile, called “Tulai”.

Legal Aspects

  1. The actions of the accused Bucur Pavel, Bucur Petre, Gall Nicolae, Bucur Vasile Dorel, and Precup Severius Ioan of taking part in the circumstances at the fire of Moldovan Lucreţia’s house in the evening of September 20, after the murders of Cheţan Crǎciun, the death of Zoltan Mircea burnt in his house and the fact of the beating with hard objects of L.R.L. and L.A.P, causing serious lesions covering almost all their bodies, as a result of which the victims suffered intensely and then died in great pain, constitute the offence of qualified and extremely serious murder according to Articles 174, 175(e), 176(a,b) of the Criminal Code.
  2. The actions of some of the accused, and of the suspects, of participating actively during the night in the arson and the destruction of some of the Gypsy houses in Hǎdǎreni constitute the offence of qualified destruction according to Articles 217(1)(4) and 41(2).
  3. Because of the violent actions and the acts of qualified destruction by all of the accused, the silence and the peace of the village was disturbed during the night of September 20, and a state of panic and fear was generated, especially among Roma. These facts constitute disturbing the public order under Article 321(2) of the Criminal Code.
  4. The attempt of the accused Bucur Petre to affect the criminal investigation by using threats and force against certain witnesses in order to convince them to retract their testimony constitutes an offence described under Article 261 of the Criminal Code as well as Article 33(a).

Considering the legal qualifications, we mention that the victim Zoltan Mircea died in the house of Moldovan Lucreţia following arson, because of burns which covered 100% of his body and that the wounds caused by the violence against L.R.L., multiple and very serious, covered 70% of his body. We also mention that the victim L.A.P. had more than 89 lesions of violence, which is a rarity in such cases. Despite all of this, we stress the fact that the offences were committed under serious psychological distress caused by the death of Cheţan Crǎciun, this being the justification of the accused for the unusual acts of violence (manslaughter).

Consequently, the spontaneous reaction of the accused is the outcome of the importance of such facts to their previous state of mind regarding the victims and other Gypsies from the village, which is the reason we suggest the use of Article 73(b) and Article 13 of the Criminal Code.

Regarding the accused Bucur Petre, Bucur Pavel and Gall Nicolae, the measure of pre-trial detention was taken on January 21, 1997, a measure reconfirmed until August 14, 1997, so the accused will be sent to trial in custody because of the degree of danger to society stemming from their actions.

The accused Bucur Vasile Dorel and Precup Severius Ioan were placed in pre-trial detention on May 6, 1997, this measure being reconfirmed until August 30, 1997.

As a result of the events, the houses of the following civil parties were destroyed: Moldovan Lucreţia, Rostaş Octavian, Rostaş Otilia, Lǎcǎtuş Ghiolanca, Moldovan Bazil, Lǎcǎtuş Ferdinand, Moldovan Lucaci, Moldovan Silvia, Moldovan Adrian, Moldovan Melenuţa, Lǎcǎtuş Petru, Lunca Minerva, Rostaş Valentina and Lǎcǎtuş Maria, Rostaş Rozalia, Lǎcǎtuş Petru, Moldovan Maria, and Lǎcǎtuş Petru. It is also mentioned that for the victims Z.M., L.A.P., L.R.L., Zoltan Floarea Maria, the wife and sister became a civil party. For Moldovan Lucreţia her son, Moldovan Iulius became civil party.

Considering all of the above, and in accordance with Article 262(1)(a,b), Article 10(c), Article 11(b), Article 242-249, and Article 228(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code, I propose:

  1. To bring to trial in a state of pre-trial detention the accused: Bucur Pavel, Bucur Petre, Gall Nicolae, Bucur Vasile Dorel, Precup Severius Ioan, all of them being charged with: qualified and extreme grave murder, Article 174, 175(e), 176(a,b); destruction, Article 217(1,4) and 41(2); disturbing the public order, Article 321(2), 33, and 73(b) and Article 13. Besides this, the accused Bucur Petre is also charged with the offence under Article 261 of the Criminal Code.
  2. To bring to trial the accused: Bucur Vasile, Bucur Nicolae, Bucur Iuliu, all of them for the following offences: destruction; disturbing the public order.
  3. To initiate criminal action and to bring to trial the accused: Budean Vasile, Vescan Olimpiu, and Furdui Simion.
  4. Cease the criminal investigation against the accused: Bucur Vasile, Bucur Nicolae, and Bucur Iuliu because from the evidence gathered, it was not possible to prove conclusively that they were the perpetrators of the murder.
  5. To cease the criminal investigation, according to Article l0(g), 11(1)(c) and 242 of the Criminal Procedure Code for the murder of the victim Cheţan Crǎciun, because the perpetrator L.R.L., called “Sibi”, is dead.
  6. Not to begin criminal investigation against the persons against whom the initial investigation was conducted because their guilt was not proved: Achim Ioan, Achim Vucu, Şuteu Gheorghe, Bartuş Samoilǎ, Varro Ladislau, Suciu Gheorghe, Scridon Ilie, Keseru Arpad, Suciu Gheorghe Mircea, Nemeth Ioan, Bucur Victor, Bucur Dorin, and Haţegan Nicolae.

According to Article 264 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the case is to be sent to trial at the Mureş Tribunal, the instance to which the following are to be summoned:

  • Accused: see annex for the 11 names and their addresses [the annex is not provided by the ERRC]
  • Damaged parties: see annex for 19 names and their addresses
  • Witnesses: see annex for 37 names and addresses of those who have been subpoenaed.

Other information:

The objects of the offences, clubs and bludgeons with whom the victim L.A.P. and L.R.L. have been beaten, have been taken during the criminal investigation and they are to be sent to this instance along with the case.
Juridical expenses totalling 2,183,240 Romanian lei for photographs, post mortem examination, biocriminal expertise and transportation are to be paid by the accused.

For the list with the names and the addresses of the accused, civil parties, and the witnesses, see the annex.

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