The slogan “Out of the country with the Hungarians!” is not an incitement, according to a Romanian prosecutor’s verdict about the Úzvölgye (Valea Uzului) incident. The decree contains other surprising conclusions too.
This is the decree by which the prosecutor of the Moinești (Mojnest) court closed an investigation without charges about the violent events in the Úzvölgye military cemetery. On June 6, 2019, Romanian nationalists broke onto the site and started abusing the peacefully protesting ethnic Hungarians. The military cemetery is the largest WW1 memorial site in Romania’s Hargita (Harghita) County, containing the graves of some 600 soldiers from Austria-Hungary. However, the local council of the nearby town of Dormănești (Dormánfalva), in Bacau (Bákó) County, has moved presumably unlawfully to establish a memorial site in the cemetery for Romanian soldiers who fell in the Second World War. This is what the Hungarians and Szeklers tried to prevent by forming a human chain when the incident occurred.
Romanian portal Hotnews.ro reported on Friday that according to the prosecution, the slogan “Out of the country with the Hungarians!” only calls for hatred or discrimination if it targets the public, an indeterminable number of people. “In this case, however, the derogatory words were addressed to a limited number of people- those who refused to allow people into the cemetery who were allowed to do so,” the statement says.
Besides noting that the prosecution only heard Romanian witnesses, the portal also listed a whole series of false statements in the prosecution’s decree and added what actually happened. It cites one witness’s assertion, confirmed by five other witnesses, that “the behavior of the Hungarians gathering at the cemetery was suitable to incite violence, but the Romanians didn’t react to the provocation.” As Hotnews emphasizes, what really happened was that the Hungarians formed a human chain around the cemetery and prayed, even when the Romanians shouted and some threw stones.
In addition, the portal notes that the prosecution also falsely described the cemetery gate’s destruction. While the prosecution stated that several people, including women and children, entered the cemetery and began to pull on the gate, from which thin pieces of wood were torn off; in reality, the gate was torn down and Romanians rushed into the cemetery trying to beat the Hungarians who were making a living chain.
The publication of the prosecution’s verdict drew criticism in Romania too, as Bucharest-based human rights watchdog ActiveWatch criticized the verdict and in a statement called up the Judicial Inspectorate to look into the case and to investigate why prosecutor Daniel Constantin Galbeaza didn’t consider the aforementioned slogan as incitement.
After a diplomatic battle and debates, several other investigations are still underway in connection with the events and their consequences.
featured image via Nándor Veres/MTI