Two Szekler settlements unknowingly placed under the authority of a Romanian town’s court

We acknowledge with incomprehension and indignation that according to No.102/2021.06.10 regulation of the Supreme Court Council, the town of Kovászna has been placed under the authority of the Court of Bodzaforduló (Întorsura Buzăului), wrote the mayor of the Szekler town, József Gyerő, in his Facebook post.

The mayor told szekelyhon.ro that the village of Zágon (Zagon) is in a similar situation, meaning that altogether 15,000 people are affected by the decision of the Supreme Court Council, which was made without asking any of the residents concerned. The mayor said that

a well-established, several-decades-old practice had been abolished, and 15,000 people’s access to the justice system had become more difficult.

The press release on the Kézdivásárhely (Târgu Secuiesc) Court’s webpage justifies the decision by claiming that as a result of the modification, the litigation processes will be shorter. However, according to József Gyerő, this statement is not true; moreover, there are several arguments against the decision.

Previously, the Kézdivásárhely Court was not busier; on the contrary, there has been less work at the court, which gave no reason for removing two settlements from their districts.

On the other hand, the Bodzaforduló Court, which started its operation in the 1990s, does not have enough cases to even justify its existence, and József Gyerő thinks the move of the two Szekler settlements can be explained by this. But he feels outraged that the decision was made without taking into consideration the local people’s interests.

The distance between Kovászna and Kézdivásárhely is 19 kilometers, while the distance between Kovászna and Bodzaforduló is twice as long, meaning that traveling there will be more expensive and take more time, whenever anyone has a legal issue. At the same time,

the right to use their mother tongue will now be limited because, while there are employees at the Kézdivásárhely Court who speak Hungarian and can help those who do not speak Romanian at the level required for dealing with a legal case, at the Bodzaforduló Court, nobody speaks Hungarian.

Ethnic Hungarian residents of Kovászna often hire lawyers from Kézdivásárhely who speak Hungarian, but if the trials are held in Bodzaforduló, the situation will be more difficult and more expensive. The lawyer will have to travel to Bodzaforduló and will demand a higher fee for his services, or he simply will not take the case at all.

If older people in Kovászna have to hire a Romanian lawyer, it is feared that they will not be able to communicate with him.

– said József Gyerő, who also wrote a letter to the Supreme Court Council in the name of the residents of Kovászna, asking for the restoration of the previous situation. In addition, the mayor informed Prime Minister Florin Cîțu, deputy Prime Minister Hunor Kelemen, Minister of Justice Ion Stelian, PMs of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (known by its Hungarian acronym of RMDSZ), and the Kovászna County Bar Association about his request.


Title image is an illustration (Photo: Árpád Pál)




Author: Attila Szoó