Gergely Gulyas, head of the Prime Minister’s Office, has slammed a ruling handed down by a Romanian court earlier this week to renationalise forests previously returned to the descendants of their former owner, a former Hungarian farm minister.
The Giurgiu County Court on Wednesday ruled that forests near Stanceni (Godemesterhaza), Rastolita (Ratosnya) and Lunca Bradului (Palotailva) in northern Romania that had been returned to the descendants of former Hungarian Minister of Agriculture Daniel Banffy, their former owner, in 2007, should now be returned to the Romanian state.
Gulyas told news portal Mandiner on Sunday that Romania’s justice system was “still at a Stalinist stage” when it came to restitution cases. “Romania today is a democracy, but not governed by the rule of law,” he said.
Banffy’s heirs claim that the Giurgiu court had based the ruling on a 1952 verdict that sentenced the former minister to 8 years of forced labour and stripped him of all of his wealth and his civil rights for 10 years for crimes against humanity he was accused of having committed between 1940 and 1944. The family insists the sentence was the result of a show trial.
Gulyas noted that after the second world war, Romania sentenced numerous noble family descendants.
He said the “absurdity” of Banffy’s conviction in 1952 was demonstrated by the fact that he had demanded a ceasefire in the autumn of 1944 after being sentenced to death by the Nazis. Yet the Stalinist regime installed after the war still declared him a war criminal, Gulyas said.
What is unbelievable is that the Romanian justice system “is still stuck at this stage when it comes to restitution cases”, the PM office chief said. Gulyas noted that one of the conditions of Romania’s accession to the European Union had been the enactment of a restitution law. But in many cases, this has gone unenforced, he said.
Source and photo: MTI