Appeal court hands down verdict in Hădăreni case, Romania

On January 15, 1999, the Tîrgu-Mureş court of appeal handed down verdict in the so-called Hădăreni case, one of the most infamous instances of anti-Romani community violence in post-Çeauşescu Romania. In Hădăreni, in September 1993, a mob of ethnic Hungarians and Romanians killed three Roma, attacked and burnt fourteen houses and demolished another five, all of which belonged to Roma. They then chased the Roma out of the village. In 1995, local prosecutors claimed to have enough evidence to prosecute eleven people, but allegedly due to political pressure, no indictment was issued until August 1997 (see ERRC country report Sudden Rage at Dawn: Violence against Roma in Romania and Roma Rights, "Advocacy" section, Spring 1997, and "Legal defence" section, Spring 1998). In the appeal court's verdict, Mr Pavel Bucur, Mr Petru Bucur, Mr Nicolae Gall, Mr Vasile Dorel Bucur, and Mr Severius Ioan Precup were sentenced to between five and six years of imprisonment for murder, with two years derogation of certain civil rights. Mr Vasile Dorel Bucur and Mr Severius Ioan Precup were also sentenced to two years imprisonment for damage to property. They will not have to serve their sentences on the basis of a 1997 clemency law. Mr Vasile Budean, Mr Simon Furdui, Mr Nicolae Haschia Bucur and Mr Olimpiu Vescan were also sentenced to between one and two years of imprisonment for damage to property. The same 1997 clemency law has been applied in the latter instances and the four men will not serve time in prison. The defendants lodged an appeal which will be heard at the Supreme Court. No date for the hearing has been fixed yet.

On February 9, hearing was convened in the civil trial, previously adjourned in January. Thirty Romani witnesses testified concerning the property that had been damaged. The Prefect of Mureş County told the ERRC in February that the county had received 128 million lei (approximately 8160 euros) in January 1997 to rebuild houses for the victims of the pogrom in Hădăreni.

Meanwhile, the Romanian media con-tinue to report negatively on Roma. On January 16, 1999, România Liberă reported on the disappearance of some swans from the lake near Curtea de Arge, suggesting that they had been caught and eaten by Roma. On January 25, the paper reported that a Romani woman had been arrested for murder. On December 17, 1998, Ziua published the threatening information that if the nationalist Great Romania Party come into power a list of persons, including "Rroma leaders", would be arrested.

(Adevărul, ERRC, România Liberă, Ziua)

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