Thursday, 15 November 2007, the House of Parliament accommodated the International Conference “Ways to Consider Communism”, an event organised this autumn by the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes in Romania.

The aim of the international conference Ways to Consider Communism was to debate on the issue of the crimes of communism as crimes against humanity. Through the present conference, the IICCR aimed at contributing to the strengthening of the cooperation between institutions from different countries preoccupied with the above-mentioned theme.

Mr. Bogdan Olteanu, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, declared during the conference: “We have the duty to include the horrors of communism in the collective memory, so as to avoid these acts to repeat in the future (…) I hope that today’s meeting will lead to visible results and that the work of Marius Oprea will be acknowledged on European level. Europe admitted many of its mistakes and I hope that communism will be included among these mistakes.”

“The process of communism and the liberation of justice from its communist past is one of my constant preoccupations. Following this idea, the rehabilitation of the political prisoners and the punishment of those who committed crimes and abuses against the regime’s adversaries is a priority for us. Some time ago, I launched a public debate regarding a law project on the annulment of political convictions given from 6 March 1945 until 22 December 1989. The above-mentioned project envisages the effacing of all criminal convictions based on political grounds, the rehabilitation of former political prisoners and material compensations for the moral prejudices they suffered. This project will be, most likely, on the government’s agenda next week. (…) Romania will also include in the new Penal Code Project the incrimination of communist crimes. The communist regime’s persecutions, committed on political grounds, will be considered crimes against humanity.”, declared Mr. Tudor Chiuariu, Minister of Justice.

The lecturers invited at this conference were Mr. Göran Lindblad, Member of the Swedish Parliament and Member of the Political Affairs Committee of the Permanent Assembly of the Council of Europe; Mr. Pedro J. Fuentes-Cid (SUA), former political prisoner and the founder of the Cuban Former Political Prisoners’ Organization, Presidio Politico Cubano; Mr. Richard Cummings, Former Director of Security within Radio Free Europe, between 1980 and 1995; Prof. Mark Kramer, Director of the Cold War Studies Center at Harvard University and a Senior Fellow of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian  Studies; Mrs. Maria Schmidt, Director of the House of Terror Museum in Budapest; Dr. Bernd Florath, Head of the research project on transnational opposition within the Research Department of the Federal Authority for the Stasi files in Berlin. The works of the conference also benefited by the participation of Dr. Radu Ioanid, who undertook an extensive academic and research activity. He was awarded a Ph.D in History by École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales of Paris (1995), a Ph.D. in Philosophy by the University of Cluj (1983) and a Master’s Degree in Sociology by the University of Bucharest (1976).

Dr. Valeri Katzunov is a specialist in Archival Studies. On 5 April 2007, Dr. Katzunov was appointed by the Bulgarian Parliament as member of the Commission for Declassification of the Documents and Declaring Bulgarian Citizens’ Affiliation to State Security and the Intelligence Services of the Bulgarian People’s Army.

Dr. Krzysztof Persak is a senior expert within the Public Education Office of the Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw and a research fellow at the Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Science.

Dr. Pavel Žáček was nominated as Government Plenipotentiary for the establishment of the Institute for Research of Totalitarian Regimes in Prague and is most probably to be nominated director of the above-mentioned institution. Dr. Žáček is the author of numerous studies on the activity of the former Czechoslovakian communist intelligence service.

“Ways to Consider Communism” was the first major international conference organised in Romania on the issue of acknowledging and condemning communist crimes.

Program of the Conference
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