Ex-Securitate officer convicted in Romania

For the first time ever a former Securitate officer has been convicted in Romania for having tortured political prisoners. 90-year-old Alexandru Vişinescu was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Wednesday. Commentators differ on how the ruling will affect Romanian society.

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Contributors (RO) /

No statute of limitations for torturers' crimes

The sentence is an important step in Romania's process of dealing with its past, historian Dorin Dobrincu comments on the blog portal Contributors:

“The verdict will send a strong message to society and the institutions of the state that no crimes are subject to the statute of limitations. In other words, the guilt of the torturers does not expire with the passage of time. They can't justify their actions by saying they were just following orders and weren't responsible themselves. ... Every society has things it remembers and things it forgets. More problematic, however, is when serious crimes are intentionally forgotten, when victims do not see justice done, when the judiciary and society persist in indifference and cynicism. With the Vișinescu case we now have the chance to bring about a true transformation in public life.”

România liberă (RO) /

Romania never processed its trauma

The verdict against the communist-era prison commander Alexander Vişinescu comes far too late, the daily paper România Liberă finds:

“Today the crimes committed under communism are far too distant. A conscious ignorance has spread among us. We don't want to grasp that these old crimes form the wobbly foundation for our present that is slipping away beneath us. Our current lack of moderation, our moral dilemma are the consequences of a past which we have been forced to forget, which we never tried to properly understand, which we banished. After a quarter of a century our greatest achievement is to have convicted a Stalinist-era prison commander who had the misfortune to live so long.”