Úz Valley Cemetery

No criminal acts were committed in Úz Valley incident, says prosecution

It has now been made public why the case concerning the scandalous acts committed last year in the WWI-era Austro-Hungarian cemetery in the Úz Valley was closed without any indictment. According to prosecutor Daniel Gălbează, no criminal offense was committed at the site. He is also of the opinion that the slogan “Out with Hungarians from the country” is a “so-called anti-Hungarian chant” but is “neither instigation, nor discrimination.” The case had actually already been closed in February, but the motivation for the prosecutor’s decision was published just the other day, Hotnews portal reported.

As we have recounted, on June 6 last year, an angry Romanian crowd broke into the Úz Valley Austro-Hungarian military graveyard, surging past a picket of praying ethnic Hungarians. A resolute group of Romanians managed to enter the graveyard even though a police cordon was formed. They crashed through the side fence and knocked down the main gate form the inside. The crowd that entered also tore down some of the Hungarian crosses that stood on the gravesites and celebrated a Romanian Orthodox religious service to consecrate a newly erected Romanian war memorial. According to press reports, Romanian police officers were also seen laying wreaths at the Romanian war memorial.

The Mikó Imre Association for the Protection of Minority Rights, founded by the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (Romániai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség or RMDSZ), the Hungarian People’s Party of Transylvania (Erdélyi Magyar Néppárt or EMNP), the Hungarian Civic Party (Magyar Polgári Párt or MPP) have each filed charges for the violent acts committed in the military graveyard.

According to the prosecutor’s motivation, instigation classifies as a criminal act only if it is directed against an indefinite number of people belonging to a certain category, not just against “one or more specific persons.”

Prosecutor Gălbează stated that in the Úz Valley incident, the offensive chants were addressed to those Hungarians present at the site of the cemetery “who did not want to allow Romanians to enter the premises.”

To chant “Out with the Hungarians from the country” is at most a misdemeanor; it would only qualify as an instigation if it were directed against “a group of people with certain disabilities, homosexuals and so on, not against an ethnic group,” details the disconcerting motivation.

One would say that it is also a peculiar aspect of the prosecution’s decision-making that only statements of ethnic Romanian witnesses were heard and taken into account; several of them declared that “Hungarians incited violent behavior in the cemetery, but Romanians did not answer their provocations.”

Nevertheless, everyone who followed the happenings surely knows that, in fact, the group of Hungarians formed a picket line around the graveyard and prayed out loud, while the Romanians arriving reviled them, with some even throwing stones at them.

Besides, according to the witnesses the prosecution, when the group of Romanians entered the cemetery, “thin pieces of wood fell off of the gate when they pulled it.” In truth, the gate was torn apart, and those entering the premises tried to beat the Hungarians praying there. The prosecution admits that “these were the only violent moments,” but an impeachment is not justified as there was no “preliminary allegation.”

To sum up, the case was closed with the disposition that the damaged chain and lock of the cemetery gate should be replaced, but this damage does not qualify as a criminal act.


Title image: Witnesses of the prosecution claimed that – the praying, picketing – Hungarians incited violence. The photo shows the manner in which the crowd entered the graveyard.

The image is a still from a video published by hotnews.ro

Author: Éva Zay