The victims of the fire at the Bucharest-based Colectiv club will benefit from lifelong financial support granted by the state.
The Romanian Senate on Monday approved a bill on granting lifelong financial aid for the payment of medical treatments to the victims of the Colectiv club fire. The bill was initiated by a group of senators from the Liberal Party, the Save Romania Union party, the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats and was unanimously adopted by the 111 senators attending the meeting.
Under this bill, the authorities approve the payment, from the Healthcare Ministry budget, of the expenses for any needed medical treatment, for an unlimited period of time, in the country or abroad, both in private and state-owned hospitals, with independent physicians and therapists, for ambulatory or hospital care. The victims will benefit from lifelong medical treatments if their treatment is directly related to the fire that occurred on October 30, 2015 at the Colectiv Club. The law was adopted by the Senate, and a final vote will be given by the decision-making Chamber of Deputies.
The 2015 tragedy left behind 64 people dead, mostly young people, and 200 wounded, and it took years of investigations until a verdict in this case was finally ruled. The fire started from a pyrotechnics display used during the show. For 2 years, the trial was blocked by procedural issues, and the judge initially designated to handle the case retired, being replaced in October 2018. The second judge promised to speed up the resolution of the case and he kept his promise, as tens of witnesses and victims were interviewed on a weekly basis.
In the last month of 2019, more than 4 years after the tragedy, the Bucharest Court gave a first ruling in this case, which is not definitive though. The former mayor of the Bucharest sector where the Club was located, Cristian Popescu-Piedone, received a prison sentence of 8 years and 6 months for abuse of office in relation to the issuance of functioning authorizations for the respective club. The two owners of the club received prison sentences of 11 years and 8 months for aggravated felony murder, aggravated bodily injury and failure to take legal measures related to safety and health at the work place.
The owners of the pyrotechnic devices company received sentences of 12 years and 8 months and 3 years and 6 months respectively, while the two pyrotechnic engineers received 9 years and 8 months and 10 years of imprisonment respectively. Two firefighters with the Bucharest Emergency Situation Inspectorate who checked the Colectiv club without taking the legal measures required regarding the legal norms observance received each sentences of 9 years and 2 months in prison.
The people sentenced in this case have to pay, together with the city hall and the Emergency Situation Inspectorate, moral and material damages worth more than 50 million Euros to the survivors of the fire and to the families of the victims. We recall that none of the defendants in this case admitted their guilt and consequently their lawyers are asking for an acquittal. (translation by L. Simion)