Accessibility links

Breaking News

Romanian Ex-President Iliescu Indicted For 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Former Romanian President Ion Iliescu (file photo)
Former Romanian President Ion Iliescu (file photo)

Romanian prosecutors have indicted former President Ion Iliescu for crimes against humanity for his role in the bloody aftermath of the December 1989 revolt that toppled dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's regime.

Iliescu's indictment, the latest step in a long-running investigation, was revealed 29 years to the day since the uprising, which had begun in the western city of Timisoara, reached Bucharest.

Iliescu, now 88, had been a senior figure in Ceausescu's government before falling out with the dictator. He went on to lead a provisional government -- the National Salvation Front -- which took control of the country after Ceausescu fled Bucharest on December 22.

Iliescu served three terms as president of post-Communist Romania.

Four other individuals, including former deputy prime minister Gelu Voican Voiculescu, were also indicted on December 21.

"Iliescu and Voiculescu directly spread misinformation through televised appearances and press releases, contributing to the institution of a generalized psychosis," the indictment said.

Their actions and statements intentionally increased the risk of "instances of friendly fire, chaotic shooting, and contradictory military orders," prosecutors said, adding that 862 people were killed after Ceausescu's flight.

The men's actions also helped lead to "the conviction and execution of the Ceausescus after a mockery of a trial," prosecutors alleged.

Voiculescu on December 21 denied any wrongdoing.

Iliescu, in a rare public comment on the issue in April, had said: "I can hold my head high in the face of the judgement of history."

With reporting by and
  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.