BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Former Romanian President Ion Iliescu has appeared at court to face charges of crimes against humanity for his role in the country’s bloody anti-communist revolution.
The charges refer to a five-day period when Iliescu seized power after former Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu fled Bucharest on Dec. 22, 1989. Ceausescu and his wife were summarily tried and executed on Dec. 25. Some 1,100 people died during the revolt, the vast majority after Ceausescu’s ouster.
Prosecutors say Iliescu, who had military authority during the revolt, didn’t stop “numerous situations” where people were needlessly killed.
The 88-year-old Iliescu declined to comment as the trial opened Tuesday. But his lawyer, Adrian Georgescu, said Iliescu believed at the time his actions were “absolutely honest and correct.”
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After the revolt, Iliescu was elected president three times.