Romania ordered to pay $776,000 to revolution victims

AP News
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Posted: Apr 12, 2016 10:22 AM
Romania ordered to pay $776,000 to revolution victims

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Europe's top human rights court on Tuesday ordered Romania to pay compensation to the families of 45 people who died during the country's 1989 anti-communist revolution.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg awarded each of the plaintiffs 15,000 euros ($17,300).

Romania has been criticized for failing to investigate the revolution, where 1,104 mainly unarmed demonstrators were shot dead as they protested against communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu.

"This ruling is good, but I feel humiliated by the Romanian state," said a tearful Elena Sandu, 26, a plaintiff who was less than 3 weeks old when her father was shot dead.

Others berated Romania for failing to probe the deaths. "There is a cover-up, Romania buried these cases," said Elena Bancila, clutching the identity card of her late son, Bogdan Stan, a 21-year-old rugby player fatally shot at the national television station on Dec. 22, 1989.

"The court in Strasbourg did what Romanian justice system was unable to do," she said. The court will rule on her case later this year.

Many former communists retained their positions in the justice system and politics after communism ended, and there was reluctance to investigate what happened.

In October, the prosecutor general's office said the investigation into the revolution had been closed down due to secrecy orders. However last week, a caretaker prosecutor general said the investigation would be reopened.

In February, the court told the government to pay 15,000 euros to families of 17 people who had died.