Ion Iliescu to stand trial for war crimes

Bucharest: Romania’s former president Ion Iliescu has been ordered to stand trial for crimes against humanity for his role in the deadly aftermath of the 1989 revolution that toppled the country’s communist regime, prosecutors said Monday.

“It is a particularly important moment for Romania’s justice system that is fulfilling a debt of honour to history,” chief prosecutor Augustin Lazar told reporters.

 

The announcement caps a long-running investigation made more difficult by an official reluctance to revisit the 1989 revolution’s bloody aftermath.

Iliescu, now 89, had been a minister in the government of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and went on to lead the National Salvation Front, which took control of the country after the uprising which began in the western city of Timisoara on December 16, 1989.

Iliescu was elected president in 1990 and served another term from 2000 to 2004. Iliescu was indicted last December with three others. Two of them — former deputy PM Gelu Voican Voiculescu and former air force commander Iosif Rus — will also stand trial.

The case against former PM Petre Roman has been dropped for lack of evidence. Prosecutors accuse Iliescu and Voiculescu of “directly spreading misinformation through televised appearances, contributing to the institution of a generalised psychosis”.

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