The Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile (IICCMER), announced on Thursday, June 1, 2017, during a press conference, that it had filed a criminal complaint to the General Prosecutor’s Office regarding the brutal treatments used during the communist regime for the children from the Hospital-homes for Irrecoverable Minors from Cighid and Păstrăveni and the Home for Deficient Irrecoverable Minors from Sighetu Marmației.
The press conference was held by Radu Preda, Executive President of IICCMER, Cătălin Constantinescu, legal counsellor, and Izidor Ruckel, one of the tens of thousands neglected orphans discovered by the Western press in 1990, who was adopted at the time by an American couple.
The regime from the above mentioned institutions, which were under state administration during the communist regime, led to death of at least 771 minors (provisional number). Thus, at the Hospital-home of Cighid, there were 138 registered deaths during October 1, 1987 – March 26, 1990, the Hospital-home of Păstrăveni recorded 394 deaths during October 1, 1966 – April 30, 1990, while there were 239 deaths during January 20, 1973 – December 31, 1991 at Sighetu Marmației.
The historical context leading up to this situation was created in 1966, when the Romanian communist regime initiated one of the strictest demographic policies to promote birth rates. The forced growth of the population, strictly quantitative, with no respect for the human being and without the creation of decent living conditions, lead amongst other things to the increase of maternal and infant mortality, the unprecedented growth of the number of children born with severe congenital malformations, with physical and psychic damage, with various innate or developed diseases, causing thousands of children to become orphans or abandoned.
The minors in need of protection from the state were divided into three categories: “recoverable”, “partially recoverable” and “irrecoverable”. The difference was made between a category of minors the state tried to “recover”, totally or partially, for their subsequent incorporation in production, and a category in which the state was not willing to invest and not even acknowledge. The rehabilitation of these children involved substantial costs, which the state funded only partially. The parent needed to cover some of the expenses, regardless of their financial status. The most difficult situation was that of children left with no parents or relatives, with no one being able to pay for their care. To the communist ideology only the healthy man was taken into consideration, the “waste” was hidden or evacuated.
The IICCMER experts found numerous cases in which the children, who were in perfect health or suffering minor deficiencies, were erroneously sent to units destined for the disabled.
IICCMER investigated approximately 10 out of 26 hospital homes for the irrecoverable minor across the country and now formulated the criminal complaint involving only 3 of these units, taking into consideration the evidence gathered so far. The investigations will continue.
The testimonies regarding the living conditions in this three hospital homes reveal inadequate alimentation, the lack of minimal hygienic and sanitary conditions, lack of clothes, cold, dampness, lack of medical assistance, isolation from the outside world.
An analysis of the death certificates undertaken by IICCMER experts together with a team of forensic specialists showed that, on one hand, there were high mortality rates for diseases that could have been easily prevented or treated and, on the other hand, there appeared to be causes of death proving that the minors were subjected to inhumane treatments.
According to its legal framework, IICCMER is authorized to carry out scientific investigations regarding the crimes, abuses and human rights infringement during the whole communist regime and to alert the competent authorities.
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The Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and The Memory of the Romanian Exile (IICCMER) is a governmental structure established in 2005 and under the coordination of the Prime Minister. Its role consists, first of all, in scientifically managing and analyzing the totalitarian period and its consequences. Secondly, the IICCMER supports the creation and implementation of educational tools to a memorial end, thus contributing to the articulation of the context in which the fundamental values and rights to be captured by our post-totalitarian society. Last but not least, IICCMER aims to collect, archive and publish documents relating to the memory of the Romanian exile.
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