Family members of the victims of the so-called ‘Black March’—violent incidents against ethnic Hungarians in 1990 in Marosvásárhely (Targu Mures)—lodged a complaint against the Romanian state to the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) claiming that the Military Prosecution Service did not investigate the incidents.
The ethnic clashes of Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureș) happened in March 1990 and the term ‘Black March’ refers to a series of violent incidents between the Romanian and Hungarian ethnic groups in Transylvania, Romania. On 19 March, Romanian peasants were transported to Marosvásárhely with sticks and axes to “protect” the city from Hungarians. In response, the Hungarians and the Romas fought back and the brief, but violent clashes were the bloodiest inter-ethnic incidents of the post-communist era in Transylvania, leaving 6 people dead and 300 injured.
After the events, the Romanian judiciary bodies only investigated the Hungarian counterreaction, and the instigators of the Romanian villagers who came to the city armed have not been identified. The prosecution filed charges against 30 people, all of whom were Hungarians and Romas. Two men were sentenced to ten years, another to six years and several others to one to two years in prison. As a result, family members have now turned to the Strasbourg court.
Gabriella Menyhárt, one of the lawyers on the case, said: they have evidence that Romanians, under the leadership of former President Ion Iliescu, organized the Marosvásárhely conflict. She added that they cooperated with the radical nationalist organization Vatra Romaneasca to transport Romanians armed with sticks and axes to Marosvásárhely and urged them to take actions against Hungarians claiming their rights. Menyhárt also said that a thorough investigation of the events is critical because the Hungarian and Romanian societies judge the Black March clashes differently and the two opposing viewpoints should be brought closer to each other.
MEP László Tőkés, president of the Hungarian National Council of Transylvania, said that in post-communist Romania investigations were sabotaged and thus unable to find those responsible for the Revolution in 1989, the Bucharest Mineriads and the Black March.
Following the events of the Black March, an emigration wave started among Transylvanian Hungarians living in Marosvásárhely. Consequently, the Hungarian ethnic community is now only 43 percent of the total population of the city.