Úz Valley Cemetery

Úz Valley: County border dispute moved to Bacău court, upsetting Csíkszentmárton

The border dispute between Csíkszentmárton/Sânmartin and Dărmănești is set to be transferred to Bacău County Court, but the representatives of Csíkszentmárton are not happy with the decision. As the settlements’ borders also represent the border between Harghita and Bacău counties and the ownership of the Úz Valley military graveyard is at stake, Csíkszentmárton fears the aforementioned move will influence the court’s decision, so a neutral court is a must, Székelyhon reports.

In March of 2019, Dărmănești City Council unilaterally annexed the Úz Valley military graveyard to its settlement to illegally place concrete crosses in the memory of fallen Romanian soldiers allegedly buried there.

The graveyard and a further 77 hectares of land belong by law to Csíkszentmárton, so the settlement’s local authority has done everything in its power to restore the graveyard and honor the fallen heroes buried in the Austro-Hungarian military cemetery. On June 6, 2019, the graveyard became the scene of a serious interethnic conflict, where physical violence was avoided by a hair’s breadth.

As the Dărmănești council’s move was illegal, Csíkszentmárton turned to the courts to seek justice, asking the judge to help them clear up the border dispute in Dărmănești. So far, there has been just one hearing in the Harghita County Court, during which the judge approved an application submitted by Dărmănești claiming that the court is not authorized to try the case; this resulted in the court deciding to pass the case to Bacău County Court.

Speaking with the Hungarian newspaper Székelyhon,

Csíkszentmárton Mayor András Gergely said they do not agree to continue the trial in Bacău County Court because the county is involved in the trial, which would compromise the court’s decision. The city has contested the decision at the Supreme Court of Cassation and requested the selection of a neutral location for the trial.

As we previously reported, the border dispute was unilaterally and illegally “solved” in a series of illegal actions orchestrated by Dărmănești Mayor Constantin Toma. The Harghita County-based settlement’s legal borders are clearly documented; furthermore, a law passed in 1968 defined the border between Csíkszentmárton and Dărmănești, placing the Úz Valley settlement in Harghita County and under Csíkszentmárton administration.

At the core of the border dispute is a cadastral mapping from 1998 initiated by the Harghita County Land Registry and involving both settlements. For reasons yet unknown, the Úz Valley was left off the analysis job sheet.

Csíkszentmárton objected to the cadastral survey at the time, but the Land Registry claimed they had limited time to finish the mapping survey, which is why they didn’t include the Úz Valley. As a result, they gave Dărmănești a legal gap that allowed them to annex the graveyard and the 77 hectares of land. Since then, the two settlements (and, as a result, Harghita and Bacău counties) have had an ongoing border dispute, which is not set to end in court.

Title image: The Úz Valley military graveyard after the forceful inauguration of the concrete crosses. Photo: István Fekete

Author: István Fekete