The new Interior Minister, the Liberal Marcel Vela, has presented a report of his first three months in office.
The declassification of the report on the events of December 10, 2018, when the anti-government protest initiated by the Romanian Diaspora ended with the violent intervention of the security forces, is the most important achievement of the first four weeks of the new Interior Minister’s mandate. This is one of the promises that the Liberal Marcel Vela made before becoming an interior minister.
Marcel Vela: “The report has been fully declassified and sent to the prosecutors. I have also ordered the declassification of the walkie-talkie conversations between the gendarmes on August 10 and 11. Hopefully, after taking this measures, we will find out what orders were given and by whom, and the manner in which these orders were carried out. In short, we will know if abuse was committed against protesters and by whom.”
The protest against the Social Democratic Government headed by Viorica Dancila and of the leftist majority supporting them, was mainly directed against their controversial justice reform, criticized both at home and abroad, by Romania’s European partners. On August 10, 2018, Romanians protested in Bucharest’s Victory Square against the ruling coalition and their policies. The demonstration took a violent turn and many peaceful protesters, and even passersby or journalists, ended up being hurt by the gendarmes, which even used water cannons and tear gas against them. The violent intervention of the gendarmes against peaceful protesters sparked suspicions of a scenario being followed, in order to compromise the protest. Protesters filed complaints against the security forces.
Interior Minister Marcel Vela has said that he does not want the clarification of the situation to be further postponed and has warned that whoever tries to do that will suffer the consequences. Marcel Vela has also said he wants his mandate to be a transparent one. He has explained that November’s presidential election was a major test for the ministry’s new leadership, a test that was passed easily. Another goal of the interior minister is to collaborate with the Bucharest Town Hall in order to ease traffic in the capital city. Also, a department specialised in finding missing persons will be set up, following the tragic cases with teenage girls this summer.
In order to give a clear signal that he is determined to increase the fight against the mafia, the interior minister appointed Traian Berbeceanu, the former chief of the Alba Iulia Brigade for Fighting Organised Crime, as head of office. In 2016 Berbeceanu was acquitted by a Court of first instance for a number of crimes, such as money laundering, bribe taking and supporting a crime group. The decision is not final and has been appealed by prosecutors. At the same time, former chief of the Alba county Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism and another prosecutor received prison sentences of 7 years, 2 years respectively, for breaking the law in investigating Traian Berbeceanu. (Translated by Elena Enache)