The XIII international symposium “The Pitesti Phenomenon – Reeducation through Torture” took place in Pitesti between 27-20 of September, organized by:
- MEMORIA Cultural Foundation – Arges branch
- Pitesti City Hall
- Romanian Association of Former Political Prisoners – Arges branch
- Arges County Museum
- The Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile
- The Romanian Institute for Recent History – Bucharest
The agenda of the symposium can be viewed and downloaded here.
During the opening ceremony Dr Camelia Doru conveyed the following message on behalf of ICAR Foundation:
A warm welcome to all participants and successful work during the symposium from the whole ICAR team!
This year marks an important turn of events in the recent history of Romania and maybe also in the justice system in Romania
The intense debates in the media during the past few months brought in each Romanian house the communism horrors through the testimonies of the direct “beneficiaries”, the fearless opponents of the regime.
The vivid description of the way the Romanian state, through all its institutional and (in) human links, persecuted its own citizens instead of protecting them, the way they were tortured, humiliated and not least assassinated is now creating a normal public opinion that categorically limits itself from that past and expects justice to be done.
As representatives of the organization (ICAR Foundation) that for over 20 years has been there for the survivors of the communist ordeal trying to comfort sufferings caused by torture, deportation, forced labor, abusive psychiatric hospitalizations, ethnic, religious and other discriminations – to name just a few of the large categories of abuses – we want to make public our stand with regard to the evolution of this moment when Romania is on its way to come to terms with its past:
- We deeply believe that it’s never too late to clarify a historic accident like communism, which lasted half a century and created immensurable damages in and to Romania. We strongly protest against those who (knowing everything and nothing) are trying to credit the idea that “it’s too late”, “they are too old” and set themselves up as speakers for the victims, justice and the whole society in the end.
- We firmly advocate for public exposure of torturers, for their investigation/interrogation and conviction for the crimes committed, irrespective of their age. We propose a “space of national shame” to be created where lists of known torturers – alive or dead – be displayed and updated as new ones are identified.
- We ask Romanian justice to start proceedings to BREAK IMPUNITY regardless of the non-vengeful attitude of victims or justifications of any kind from torturers. The rule of law is not a private, negotiable matter. We are the country with tens of thousands of victims legally recognised and even modestly supported through the Law 118/1990 but without a single perpetrator ever convicted!
- We are protesting against the cynical political diversion regarding the victims’ compensation from the torturers’ pensions. Reduction to minimum of torturers’ enormous pensions (recently revealed) should be part of a package annulling the privileges of any kind that torturers are still enjoying more than 20 years after the anti-communist revolution as a reward for their crimes against humanity!
- We ask the Romanian Parliament to urgently review the reparation Law 221/2009 to allow Romanian state to get out of the current legal ambiguity which prevents compensation for victims of its persecution.
- We, as well as our children, refuse to be part of the perpetuation of communism abuses. There are debts that cannot ever be paid, but there are these other debts that must be paid NOW!
I thank you!
Camelia Doru, MD