Transitional justice in Romania. Reparations for the victims of the communist regime and legal order

Author:Bianca Elena Radu
Position:PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, ?Nicolae Titulescu' University of Bucharest (e-mail:
Bianca Elena RADU
This study aims to analyse, through a transitiona l justice approa ch, the repara tions granted by
the Romanian state to the victims of the communist r egime. The paper will examine the role of
repar ations in transitiona l justice programs, the main sour ces of international law a nd legal doctrine
regar ding repara tions, as well as the evolution of the Romanian legisla tion on compensations for the
abuses caused b y th e communist dictator ship. Eventually, we will try to assess the significance of
repar ations for the legal order o f Romania.
Keywords: tra nsitional justice, repara tions, Romania, communist regime, legal order.
1. Introduction
The study uses a transitional justice
approach to analyse the reparations granted
by the Romanian state to those individuals
who suffered massive human rights
violations duri ng the co mmunist regime.
Various academic domains such as political
science, sociology, history or law have
dedicated scholarly research to this issue.
However, our endeavor is more consistent
with a legal appro ach at the crossroads
between international and private law, being
also informed b y the basic terms of the
general theory of law.
An analysis of the legal steps made by
the Romanian state to redress human rights
violations carr ied out by the communist
regime is increasingly relevant. In February,
2016, the The High Court of Cassation and
Justice of Ro mania issued a definitive
sentence against Alexandru Vii nescu, the
first Romanian person convicted after 1989
of cri mes against humanity for his abusive
PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, „Nicolae Titulescu” University of Bucharest (e-mail:
acts as a prison co mmander. During the
same year, eight European Ministers of
Justice signed a common declaration for the
establishment of an international tribunal for
the investigation of crimes committed by
communist regimes. In March, 2016, the
Bucharest Court of Appeal issued an
undefinitive sentence against Io n Ficior,
convicted for crimes against humanity
allegedly committed as a commander of the
Periprava labor colony. Even if the aims of
this paper are not related to the criminal
dimension of transitional justice, one cannot
minimize the impact of these dec isions for
the academic debate regarding the tools used
by the Romanian state to manage its past
social, political and legal tr aumas. In this
context, we consider that it is highly
important to underline the peculiarities
surrounding the legal treatment of the
communist regime’s victims and not only of
its’ perpetrators.
The first objective of this paper is to
examine how the main sources of
international law and legal doctrine relate to

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