Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Law No. 221/2009 on Convictions with Political Character and Administrative Measures Related, Sentenced between March 6, 1945 and December 22, 1989. Grounds for the Law and Its Applicability

Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Law No. 221/2009 on Convictions with Political Character and Administrative Measures Related, Sentenced between March 6, 1945 and December 22, 1989. Grounds for the Law and Its Applicability

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT.

The Law no. 221/2009 was an act of historic reparation for former political prisoners. Both the legal environment and justice seekers have positively received those regulations which tended to restore not so much the former political prisoners, but the Romanian state itself in front of people who had suffered during the former communist regime and, to some extent, in front of the international public opinion. Following the publication of that law, courts of law have registered a remarkable number of applications requiring compensations, most of which were related to moral damage, cases which constitute the premises of this paper.

Keywords: political convictions, applicability of law, court grounds

The promulgation of Law no. 221/2009 on convictions with political character and administrative measures related, sentenced between March 6, 1945 and December 22, 1989 was an act of historic reparation for former political prisoners and appeared in Romania, 20 years after the events of December 1989. Both the legal environment and justice seekers have positively received those regulations which tended to restore not so much the former political prisoners, but the Romanian state itself in front of people who had suffered during the former communist regime and, to some extent, in front of the international public opinion. Following the publication of that law, courts of law have registered a remarkable number of applications requiring compensations, most of which were related to moral damage. As a first solution of courts, those claims were approved, but with large differences regarding the amount of sums awarded by way of moral repair. One year after the adoption of the law, it became quasiinapplicable, as a result of some exceptions of unconstitutionality, admitted by the Constitutional Court.

Initially, Law no. 221/2009 on convictions with political character and administrative measures related, sentenced between March 6, 1945 and December 22, 1989 did not provide any cap for moral damages that were to be granted to the prejudiced persons. Thus, art. 5, paragraph (1), letter a), first sentence of Law no. 221/2009 had the following content: "(1) Any person who was convicted for political reasons between March 6, 1945 and December 22, 1989 or was the object of administrative measures of political nature, as well as the husband/wife or descendants up to the second degree including, may require the court, after the death of such person, within three years from the date of entry into force of this law, to compel the state to: a) award compensation for the moral damage suffered, following the conviction [...]."

By Emergency Ordinance no. 62/2010, article 5 of Law 221/2009 was amended, by introducing some value caps for moral damages (the maximum was 10,000 euros), as it follows:

1. In article 5 paragraph (1), letter a) is amended and will have the following content:

2. "a) the awarding of some compensation for the moral damage suffered following the conviction, with the amount up to:

1. 10,000 euros for the person who was convicted for political reasons, between March 6, 1945 and December 22, 1989 or was the object of administrative measures of political nature;

2. 5,000 euros for the husband/wife and descendants of first degree;

3. 2,500 euros for the descendants of second degree [...]"

"Art ?. - Provisions of Law no. 221/2009 on the convictions with political character and the administrative measures related, sentenced between March 6, 1945 and December 22, 1989, as amended and supplemented by this emergency ordinance, apply to lawsuits and claims for the solution of which a final court decision has not been ruled before the coming into force of this emergency ordinance."

By Decision no. 1354 of October 20, 2010, the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional, the cap measures for moral damages introduced by G.E.O. no. 62/2010, and the consequence was to return to the previous regulation where damages were not capped. …

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